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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy,

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or knowledge with respect to the various conversion/travel vans that are available. I was at my local costco this weekend and there was a very nice Chevy conversion van parked in the lot with a for sale sign. I love these vans for travelling and am now thinking about picking one up for next spring/summer.

I'm wondering if anyone can direct me towards specific things to examine or be aware of when checking vans out. In particular how do the 5.3L V8's hold up and what are the common problems?

I'm leading towards a GM version but if a well price Ford shows up along the way I'd buy that.

My parents had a travel van back in the early 90's. It was a Ford Econoline based conversion and it was seat. We used it for family vacations and it was great for the various travels. I've also had a love for these things and seeing the van for sale this weekend renewed my desire.

I would consider getting one for the US because I think the prices should be considerable less than here in Canada. It seems like most are admissable into Canada according to the registrars website.

If anyone can help with information and specific things to be careful about that would be great!

Take it easy
 

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The 5.3 does a good job in most applications. If you had a raised roof and run the mountains, I'd recommend the 6.0 engine.

Van conversion companies go out of business every time you turn around, especially in today's climate which basically makes any warranty on the conversion null and void.

So basically, it's buyer beware.
 

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I haven't seen a conversion van forever. In the chicagoland area they were a huge hit in the 1990's because they were dirt cheap. I wouldn't touch a conversion with a 30ft telephone pole. So so interior quality. Tacky exterior styling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the comments thus far. I do not know if/did not know that a 6.0L was offered. All the ads I've seen so far list the vans as having a 5.3L engine.

The biggest decision is whether to settle for a rear wheel drive (very common, probably 90% or more) or try to find an all wheel drive version in the right colour with the right options.
 

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Conversion vans are nice, but the quality control of these things is atrocious!!!

I once worked for WI's largest GM conversion van dealer...I can say they pissed off more people than not!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Aside from any sort of quality issues in terms of the conversion process I assume the underpinnings of the vans are pretty solid. When you folks talk about customers being unhappy is it mostly because the conversion company modifiications are poor or is the GMC/Chevy platform poor as well? Will the mechanicals hold up or should I expect to see various engine or transmission problems?

At this point I'm leaning towards trying to find a 2006 or newer, 5.3L V8 with AWD.
 

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Aside from any sort of quality issues in terms of the conversion process I assume the underpinnings of the vans are pretty solid. When you folks talk about customers being unhappy is it mostly because the conversion company modifiications are poor or is the GMC/Chevy platform poor as well? Will the mechanicals hold up or should I expect to see various engine or transmission problems?

At this point I'm leaning towards trying to find a 2006 or newer, 5.3L V8 with AWD.
The van itself was fine, mechanicals were excellent, except for the addon rear AC the conversion folks would add onto...so I'm talking about the overall quality of the conversion itself...not the body/chassis/drivetrain...

We have harnesses cut by sheetmetal screws placed inconsiderate to the vehicle, amongst other interior related issues...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The van itself was fine, mechanicals were excellent, except for the addon rear AC the conversion folks would add onto...so I'm talking about the overall quality of the conversion itself...not the body/chassis/drivetrain...

We have harnesses cut by sheetmetal screws placed inconsiderate to the vehicle, amongst other interior related issues...
In this case all I really need to look for is a van that has been gently used with a interior that seems to be holding up. My main concern is mechanicals. A vehicle like this for me would be in storage for the majority of the year and would likely only be driven about 5000km a year (maybe 10,000km if I go on a longer road trip or more frequent short trips.)

I won't have kids in there bouncing off the interior and pulling things apart and such.

I'm certain that I should be able to find a van in good condition that would cause few problems down the road.

As a seperate topic, I have seen a handful of van listed with a satelite dish. These seem to be the flat dishes that are mounted on the roof. Do any of you that have provided some information already know how these work? Do they require a subscription to a satelite signal provider or do the typically pick up "free" signals? I have a few friends who have satelites rigged up to, in essence, "steal" signals. How well do these types of dishes work?
 
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