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    Thread: What do you know about old Chevy Conversion vans?

    1. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 07:50 AM #1
      I'll be picking mine up on Wednesday. It has no rust and has a very nice interior, working a/c and a sweet little TV. I'm considering an A-team replica but I don't know a whole lot about them.

      Its a G20, meaning 3/4 ton, but it has 5 lug wheels and a 700R4 transmission, which means it is a pretty weak 3/4 ton, and I'm nearly convinced its a 305 engine. Not a big deal, as I can pop help help springs and a trans cooler, and I'll just be okay with it being a slow tow rig.



      Any thoughts?

      Chris
      Last edited by 200HP4dr; 05-06-2012 at 07:53 AM.
      | 2012 Nissan Leaf | 2005 Chrysler T&C |

    2. Member 302W's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 08:06 AM #2
      All I know is that they creep me out
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zero View Post
      1988 is not an 80's car, it's an early 90s car but whatever.

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      05-06-2012 08:15 AM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by 302W View Post
      All I know is that they creep me out
      You must have not dated girls in the 70's.
      1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks.

      The rest are caused by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

    4. Member crushed20th's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 08:23 AM #4
      I have a 1991 Chevy g20. Mines a winnebago conversion. Got for 1700 bucks. It has 120k on it and runs like a top! I picked it up to haul my dogs around..
      Quote Originally Posted by VierSpeed View Post
      I can't believe you think it's worth compromising the spreadability of cream cheese just for 'mad stance.'

      You've ruined that bagel.
      Eple. RIP Miata 6/15/13

    5. Member 302W's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 08:24 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Bigtree View Post
      You must have not dated girls in the 70's.
      Negative, wasn't born till the 80's
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zero View Post
      1988 is not an 80's car, it's an early 90s car but whatever.

    6. Member Zstampe's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 09:44 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by 200HP4dr View Post
      I'll be picking mine up on Wednesday. It has no rust and has a very nice interior, working a/c and a sweet little TV. I'm considering an A-team replica but I don't know a whole lot about them.

      Its a G20, meaning 3/4 ton, but it has 5 lug wheels and a 700R4 transmission, which means it is a pretty weak 3/4 ton, and I'm nearly convinced its a 305 engine. Not a big deal, as I can pop help help springs and a trans cooler, and I'll just be okay with it being a slow tow rig.



      Any thoughts?

      Chris
      Bring lots of free candy! ;-)
      Quote Originally Posted by Crob View Post
      No, but hypothetically I pissed in your mom.
      Quote Originally Posted by ToucheTurtle View Post
      One time my girlfriend said she didn't like the Acura NSX so i broke up with her....just kidding shes ****ing dead.

    7. Member DasBaldGuy's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 09:51 AM #7
      I've known girls who call them "RapeVans" and "Pervert Vans"

      For me, I prefer to call them "PedoVans" or "Free Candy Vans"

      ...that is all....
      -Obama Sucks-

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      05-06-2012 10:07 AM #8
      Good luck getting anything better than 11mpg.

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      05-06-2012 10:19 AM #9
      I would be concerned about being able to vacuum out everything that I would want vacuumed out of such a vehicle. I like conversion vans, but buying used ones is like buying used old unknown prior owner upholstered furniture and mattresses from the goodwill store. Not happening for me.
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

    10. 05-06-2012 10:21 AM #10
      My dad drove nothing but these for years for work until recently he picked up a 2002 dodge van due to it just being newer and the price was right(or so we thought before we had to fix a bunch of stuff) Great vehicles for what they are and it doesn't matter much as aside from a few options they are all the same body wise. You can swap a front end from a 70's van right onto a 96. The last one he had was a g30, the heavy duty one. I remember he got around mid teens highway and that's with the bigger truck components which I would assume would suck some of the deficiency away. All in all, he did minimum maintenance on it due to always being busy and tired with work and the only reason he finally sold the last one was it needed a new control arm and the front suspension refreshed and he could not justify the time and money. We sold it for $550 with 320,000 miles on it. This may not be the case with the lower trims, its been a while since I have been in those but the vans can tend to be a bit rough when they are empty due to the suspension built to carry weight but load it up some and its incredibly smooth. Also, due to all the external hinges body parts are EXTREMELY easy to work on and replace. We needed a new drivers door and had the old one off and new one on and aligned in 10 minutes.
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    11. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 05:20 PM #11
      I know the prior owners who have similar hygiene standards to my own, so that doesn't bug me. I'll grab some pics when I get it on Weds and post them up. I'm now on the lookout for the spoiler, the front visor and the bull bar. I scored it cheap, so I think I'm going to roll on the paint job.

      Chris
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    12. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 05:37 PM #12
      Solid vans.
      My uncle put over 300k miles on one with a 5.7 (hauling his bronzes across country).

      The biggest issue with conversion vans is the conversion itself.
      Many of the windows on these old conversions are not available anymore.
      So if one gets broke- you be SOL.
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    13. Member robr2's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 05:39 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by 302W View Post
      Negative, wasn't born till the 80's
      That means your mother was one of those girls we dated in the 70's.

      Bazinga!!

      Sorry - I'm sure your mother is wonderful. You just left it hanging there....

    14. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 05:40 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by robr2 View Post
      You just left it hanging there....
      That's what she said.
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      05-06-2012 06:01 PM #15
      free candy is the only thing that comes to mind.

    16. Member Yo Teach's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 06:56 PM #16
      Make love in your Chevy van and that's alright with me.
      2007 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring

    17. Member mikes96GTI's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 07:10 PM #17
      my brother and his friend went halfers on a 74 G20 bubble top camper for weekend beach/surf trips, camping. Its a dead nuts reliable Chevy. Interesting fact, these things are Unibody....

      700R4 is great for mileage, not good for towing or performance without some $$$ investment. It will not live too long when subjected to heat and abuse. They will constantly hunt in and out of overdrive under load and it just makes heat and destroys it. There is a way to put the lock up on a dimmer switch. They cost more to build then at TH350 or TH400. IIRC GM used the TH400 in one tons all the way into the 90's. I had one in my K5.

      Front suspension is typical GM 2WD truck, cake to work on cheap parts.

      As far as the axle, if its a 5 bolt hub its a 10 or 12 bolt axle. 10 bolts are notoriously weak, 12 bolts are better. if its 6 lug its likely a semi-floater 14Bolt. eight lugs with the giant chunk of metal coming through the wheel is a 14 bolt full floater.

      As far as engines, its a toss up. Most 3/4 tons were 350's. VIN will tell you what it SHOULD have, but with age, a lot of these were replaced.

      All in all, like most GM trucks, they rarely break, parts are cheap and most fixes are easy. you will need to do something to make it very unique as to avoid the "free candy" stigma. I do see a number of 70's vans around Socal nowadays, I think the metallic paint, mag wheels, and crazy interior vans are making a small niche comeback, which I think is cool.
      A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
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    18. Member PGas32's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 07:18 PM #18


      Taking this beast to the Indy 500 for my bachelor party in a few weeks. My grandparents, for reasons unbeknownst to me, bought it on a whim last summer and this will be its first real test. I test drove it last weekend and it's a complete dog, tops out at 65, and has downright scary steering

      It's a '94 with 71k on it, what's the worst that can happen?!?

    19. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 07:35 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by mikes96GTI View Post
      All in all, like most GM trucks, they rarely break, parts are cheap and most fixes are easy.
      Let's quantify that with "like most old school fullsize GM trucks".
      I've known quite a few people with 2000+ GM trucks that have had major issues before 100k miles.
      Not all of them, but enough that I wouldn't make a statement like you did.
      |˙˙ʇǝuɹǝʇuı ǝɥʇ uo ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ɯopuɐɹ pɐǝɹ noʎ :ǝɯıʇ ǝǝɹɟ ɥɔnɯ ooʇ ʎɐʍ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ ןןǝʇ oʇ ʍoɥ˙˙˙|http://hotlinktest.com/

    20. 05-06-2012 07:36 PM #20
      The hood rats love these things nowadays, I don't know why.

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      05-06-2012 07:45 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Gee Spoolin View Post
      The hood rats love these things nowadays, I don't know why.
      They can cook and sell drugs out of them, they can rape people in them, they have a place to sleep when baby mama throws them out, they can put massive sound systems in them..... Need I go on?

      Can't speak to the van, but my old c10 has 275k on the original motor and transmission and runs strong.

      My dad has a friend that bought an 01 or 02 1500 new. He went through 2 engines before 100k. The truck was not abused at all. He was a professional mechanic and owned a successful shop. He was also a big gm guy which is why he kept the vehicle.

      That's why I'll stick with my good old truck.
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    22. Member IJM's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 07:50 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Gee Spoolin View Post
      The hood rats love these things nowadays, I don't know why.
      True, but it's usually middle age guys I see at the wheel around here.

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      05-06-2012 08:12 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by PGas32 View Post
      It's a '94 with 71k on it, what's the worst that can happen?!?
      You find your Halloween stash of candy and on a whim decide to drive around the neighborhood and hand it out to small children?

    24. Member Kar98's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 08:18 PM #24
      I rocked this one for a few years:



      Five liter, aka 305 cui V8, three speed auto, four captain's chairs, one queen-sized bed/bench, the interior looked like a French army brothel. "Mark III" conversion. 16 mpg. And yeah, I once did find a lost puppy and was gonna drive around the neighborhood to find the owner, and when I turned the first corner, there's the 14 year old neighbors' daughter. I play back what I am about to say, shuddered, floored the gas pedal and went back home to come up with a better plan.

    25. Member robr2's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 08:54 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      That's what she said.
      Touche.

    26. Member 302W's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 09:15 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by Kar98 View Post
      And yeah, I once did find a lost puppy and was gonna drive around the neighborhood to find the owner, and when I turned the first corner, there's the 14 year old neighbors' daughter. I play back what I am about to say, shuddered, floored the gas pedal and went back home to come up with a better plan.
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zero View Post
      1988 is not an 80's car, it's an early 90s car but whatever.

    27. Member bikerboy's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 09:17 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by PGas32 View Post


      Taking this beast to the Indy 500 for my bachelor party in a few weeks. My grandparents, for reasons unbeknownst to me, bought it on a whim last summer and this will be its first real test. I test drove it last weekend and it's a complete dog, tops out at 65, and has downright scary steering

      It's a '94 with 71k on it, what's the worst that can happen?!?
      A friend of mine had a van identical to this in every way, right down to the front "license plate" step. I believe it was a '93. His started rusting quite badly, at one point most of the rocker panels in front of the rear wheels were gone. We painted in in flat black and gave it the A-Team van treatment complete with a Ford Contour deck lid spoiler screwed to the roof.

      It got junked after a front control arm broke. Absolutely dismal on fuel, but would fit anything, and then some. The front seating area is not very comfortable (though the conversion van seats were La-Z-Boys in themselves), and foot room is a joke due the room the engine takes up.

    28. Member mikes96GTI's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 11:01 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      Let's quantify that with "like most old school fullsize GM trucks".
      I've known quite a few people with 2000+ GM trucks that have had major issues before 100k miles.
      Not all of them, but enough that I wouldn't make a statement like you did.
      GM made trucks after 1999? I wouldn't have guessed. Nothing beats an -87 C series truck. Between the K5 I had, and my C10, they were great, easy to fix and cheap to own. They are still all over the place here, being used by contractors, gardeners, junk haulers, etc. The newer ones are nice, but they do seem to have a ton of issues. I know my buddies 06 2500 Durmax has seen MORE then its fair share of repairs, and has 80K on it, another friend of mine has a 1500 and its had axle issues, front suspension issues, and a $2800 rebuild of the 4L80E and cats at 110k miles. Motors are solid though!
      A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
      George S. Patton

    29. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      05-06-2012 11:54 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by mikes96GTI View Post
      GM made trucks after 1999? I wouldn't have guessed. Nothing beats an -87 C series truck. Between the K5 I had, and my C10, they were great, easy to fix and cheap to own. They are still all over the place here, being used by contractors, gardeners, junk haulers, etc. The newer ones are nice, but they do seem to have a ton of issues. I know my buddies 06 2500 Durmax has seen MORE then its fair share of repairs, and has 80K on it, another friend of mine has a 1500 and its had axle issues, front suspension issues, and a $2800 rebuild of the 4L80E and cats at 110k miles. Motors are solid though!
      And the 1980 to 1997 F series trucks are tough too.
      I see them all over the pace as work vehicles (like my 88).
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      05-07-2012 12:11 AM #30
      go to the vannin forums, lots of cool builds with these

    31. 05-07-2012 12:30 AM #31
      I, too, rocked a Chevy conversion van years ago. Loved it, it was a great van. Always thought that the chevys were far superior to the fords and dodges of the same era. The dodges always had very loose steering and the fords drove like army trucks. The chevys felt the most car-like to me.

      The downside was always the engine/trans combo. I think the v8 in mine (1983?) made either 135 or 165 hp, either way it felt like 50 hp trying to move that huge van through the air, never mind up a hill!! The trans would go down a gear if you floored it and then go up a gear two seconds later and then slow down only to drop down a gear again. I would just drop it into second on a big hill and leave it there until I got to the top. Spark plug changes weren't fun either...

      Great big comfy van for rad trips though! I don't know how much I'd enjoy towing as backing up wasn't as easy as a pickup due to lack of visibility out the back.

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      05-07-2012 12:32 AM #32
      A friend of mine bought one as a joke. He can bounce the front suspension off the ground, like legit both tires in the air.

    33. 05-07-2012 01:45 AM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by Kar98 View Post
      And yeah, I once did find a lost puppy and was gonna drive around the neighborhood to find the owner, and when I turned the first corner, there's the 14 year old neighbors' daughter. I play back what I am about to say, shuddered, floored the gas pedal and went back home to come up with a better plan.
      lmfao

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      05-07-2012 02:13 AM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by mikes96GTI View Post
      Nothing beats an -87 C series truck.
      Except for the same era Fords. And the Dodges, But that's my biased opinion.
      77 F100, 83 244, 94 540i

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      05-07-2012 07:31 AM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by Gee Spoolin View Post
      The hood rats love these things nowadays, I don't know why.
      I would live to see these things make a revival. Candy paint, 24s, Newport branding, etc..

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