Chevy Express van Advice

Thought it may be a good place to ask with a fair few USA members, but i'm looking at a 97 Express Van with the 5.7 in it.

Anyone have any advice as to what to look for as far as faults or common problems? Do they have a good rep in the US for the twenty year old ones?

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Comments

  • Yeah - look for a Ford
    Forget that GM shit.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited June 23

    Couldn't bring my self to own a transit. There's hundreds of them over here. Bugger all Chevy vans though, 4 for sale in Australia atm.

    Decent one is not cheap either, this is 10k worth in the states, 25k here;

    1988 Chevrolet G20 @ JUST CARS

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  • My opinion:

    No friggin way I’d do it for that price. A 30 year old vehicle will have everything be falling apart and patches on patches. Not to mention if the electrical system has been “repaired” or modified it throws the whole system off for regular use.

    Further, working on those vans is a huge pain. You have to tear apart the inside practically to get to stuff in the engine.

    At that age the electrical, transmission, engine support systems (fuel, spark, exhaust)will all need complete replacement or rebuild. Any interior trim will be nasty and stinky, God only knows about the suspension.

    You wouldn’t be buying a van you’d be buying a project.

    Honestly you’d be so much better off a Chinese or Indian ute or chassis can and modding it.

    I literally think you’d be further ahead if you bought a junker and completely rebuilt it.

    Also, those were never noted for being reliable or roadworthy or quality vehicles in the first place.

  • edited June 23

    @punkin said: Couldn't bring my self to own a transit. There's hundreds of them over here. Bugger all Chevy vans though, 4 for sale in Australia atm.

    Decent one is not cheap either, this is 10k worth in the states, 25k here;

    They were Ford Econolines from 1960 to 2014. I bought a '71 E300 in '73 and customized it myself. That 302 Windsor V8 (5L) with a 3-speed automatic was a screamer. I traveled all across North America in that van. She never let me down. Shit for gas mileage though.

    Engine access was under a removable cowling between the driver and passenger seat. Limited access from a small front hood (bonnet). The cowling made a real nice table at the driver's right hand (or passenger's left hand).

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited June 23

    Yeah i've riden in them mate. Transits were sold here that's why there is so many of them. The GMC's were not as far as i know.

    The Chev will be the stablemate to my other Chev commercial vehicle.

    @Fiji_Spirits said: My opinion:

    No friggin way I’d do it for that price. A 30 year old vehicle will have everything be falling apart and patches on patches. Not to mention if the electrical system has been “repaired” or modified it throws the whole system off for regular use.

    Further, working on those vans is a huge pain. You have to tear apart the inside practically to get to stuff in the engine.

    At that age the electrical, transmission, engine support systems (fuel, spark, exhaust)will all need complete replacement or rebuild. Any interior trim will be nasty and stinky, God only knows about the suspension.

    You wouldn’t be buying a van you’d be buying a project.

    Honestly you’d be so much better off a Chinese or Indian ute or chassis can and modding it.

    I literally think you’d be further ahead if you bought a junker and completely rebuilt it.

    Also, those were never noted for being reliable or roadworthy or quality vehicles in the first place.

    My other Chev is a 58 year old vehicle, i'm not too worried about stuff that will need doing on a 70-150k KM vehicle..

    I won't be working on it, so that's someone else's problem, most of the ones for sale are new trans, etc.

    I would not buy a Chinese or Indian vehicle on my death bed mate, i'm into COOL.

    • Chevrolet Corvair Rampside....tick
    • Harley Davidson.....tick
    • Ducati Superbike....tick
    • Moto Guzzi retro superbike......tick

    @Fiji_Spirits said: Also, those were never noted for being reliable or roadworthy or quality vehicles in the first place.

    The constructive thing here that addresses my question.
    Can you give me more information about the reliability issues, why they weren't roadworthy or quality please mate?
    Links to information from reputable sources would be good.

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  • edited June 23

    I looked at that ad you linked to above. Pretty nice ride, all things considered. 72k miles (116 km) for US$17,000.

    400 V8 (6.2L) diesel - with a manual tranny? Manual is kinda anti-luxury, no? Take off the mufflers and she'll sound like a D9 Cat.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • I never owned a van and have only driven them in the military so this is just me spouting.

    Anyhoo, I’ll preface this by saying that I generally prefer a Chevy over a Ford. That said it seems to me that the Chevy vans of that style never really caught on. Conversely the Ford did fairly well in popularity and seemed to be more reliable. Chevy went to the Astro van eventually which was better but got outsold by dodge with the minivan style.

    I can’t speak to what specific things went wrong with the Chevy vans but I do remember it having a reputation for being a problem child and even Chevy fans eventually dumped them quietly. (The A-team notwithstanding).

    I did own a 6.2 diesel in a 92 k-2500 Silverado extended cab HD 1-ton pickup when they turbocharged it. They all had a fuel pump problem which normally occurred within the first 4 years of ownership. The turbo was ok overall. I’ve also driven the 6.2 non turbo extensively in cargo trucks and they were absolute pigs. Just a horrid engine with shit power. It needed another couple gears in an auto tranny.

    In the USA the ~86-94 series Chevy’s also suffered from a weird body primer failure issue that caused the paint to flake off. My truck was always getting front suspension parts replaced. I kept a spare universal joint in the toolbox because I got tired of walking out of the woods or driving back home in 4 low.

    On my 92 Chevy pickup I recall in 2001 that I was averaging $400-500 usd per month in repairs. It got to the point where I was over it and bought a new Toyota Tundra. Never happier to see a truck go. I paid $10000 for that truck in 1999.

    I do recall driving the ford and Chevy vans of that style at different times. The Ford was a better van.

    My personal opinion is that the 80s and 90s were dark times for quality at GM. I may have loved the aesthetics but they didn’t last. I think the late 70s-80s were better vehicles overall.

  • ahem... 360 V8, AC, and factory cruise control.. first year for disc front brakes and electronic ignition... I give you the 1972.5 Dodge B200 Sportsman Royal.. I learned how to make martini's in this van for my dad...

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    800 x 546 - 91K
  • Says the guy with a Bronco II... 8-|

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • I could do a Dodge i reckon. I'll search. The Chevys over here are all sold anyway.

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  • edited June 23

    Garry that 318 CI often found in those Dodge (Mopar engine)van was a real screamer. Reasonable fuel economy paired with some jumpy HP.

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  • Thanks mate.

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