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Thread: Recommendations about later vans...

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    Recommendations about later vans...

    So I thought I was going to get a 94 or 95 Chevy or GMC, but a potentially good deal on a 2002 came up, and aside from being a little longer than I was looking for it checks most of the boxes...

    Do you guys have opinions on Express / Savana, 1996 onward? The one I'm looking into tonight is conversion based on a 1500 with a 5.7 V8. It has a hitch but I don't yet know if it came with a "towing package". So long as it has transmission cooling I think it'll be OK to tow <5000 lbs (boat), no? I really didn't have a body-on-frame van in mind, but I've been driving a 97 Tahoe for years and it isn't too bad.

    An Early is still on my wish list but I haven't found one that's both not a rusterama (attacking that is just not my interest) and within my price range/sense of value. Surely there's a Fire Dept or Ma Bell van stashed away somewhere, just waiting for me...

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    VCVC Member kookykrispy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivedog View Post
    So I thought I was going to get a 94 or 95 Chevy or GMC, but a potentially good deal on a 2002 came up, and aside from being a little longer than I was looking for it checks most of the boxes...

    Do you guys have opinions on Express / Savana, 1996 onward? The one I'm looking into tonight is conversion based on a 1500 with a 5.7 V8. It has a hitch but I don't yet know if it came with a "towing package". So long as it has transmission cooling I think it'll be OK to tow <5000 lbs (boat), no? I really didn't have a body-on-frame van in mind, but I've been driving a 97 Tahoe for years and it isn't too bad.

    An Early is still on my wish list but I haven't found one that's both not a rusterama (attacking that is just not my interest) and within my price range/sense of value. Surely there's a Fire Dept or Ma Bell van stashed away somewhere, just waiting for me...
    The 96-99 vortec 5.7 engine in the express/savana is great/legendary engine. The latest version of the 350 chevy featured vortec heads and a roller cam/lifters factory. Great engines and will tow a 5000 lb boat no problem.

    The LS series v8 engines from 2000 and newer are even better. 1/2 tons usually have a 5.3L which is a good engine. I have a 6.0L w/ 4L80e trans in my 99 silverado 2500 4x4, which is an excellent workhorse but uses lots of gas (12-13 mpg). They made vans with these 5.3, 6.0 engines too.



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    Quote Originally Posted by kookykrispy View Post
    The 96-99 vortec 5.7 engine in the express/savana is great/legendary engine. The latest version of the 350 chevy featured vortec heads and a roller cam/lifters factory. Great engines and will tow a 5000 lb boat no problem.

    The LS series v8 engines from 2000 and newer are even better. 1/2 tons usually have a 5.3L which is a good engine. I have a 6.0L w/ 4L80e trans in my 99 silverado 2500 4x4, which is an excellent workhorse but uses lots of gas (12-13 mpg). They made vans with these 5.3, 6.0 engines too.
    Yeah, I've been using a 97 Tahoe 5.7L for my towing needs, and it just goes and goes. Glad to hear good news about the 5.3L and 6.0L LSs (aside from fuel) as I've seen a few of those around.

    I'm still a little torn, as I've also been considering the last few years of Astro/Safari. Towing would be marginal, as in just enough, for the boat, per specs. I think they're rated for 4,500 and that's about what my trailer+boat weigh. I really think I'd have more fun with the Astro as to me it's kinda more like an Early than the Express/Savana whoppers are. But I haven't been towing with the 4.3L V6 so I don't know how comfortable I'd be with it (I don't generally exceed 60mph when towing and don't venture into mountainous areas with a trailer very often, but still...) and I'd miss all the space for sleeping and whatnot of the full-size van. Hmmm...

    Are some Early fans also big fans of Astro/Safari?

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    VCVC Charter Member Vanner68's Avatar
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    I like the Astro myself. My son had one and a few places I've worked had them a service vans. They are pretty damn sturdy, even when most of the lower body has rotted away. Not any more difficult to work on than a full size van. The 4.3 is just a 350 with two cylinders lopped off, basic maintenance will keep them going 500,000 miles. Most 4.3's were backed by the TH700 trans, although I've heard of some with the TH200. The 200 is not recommended for towing. If you plan your interior out you can stretch out in the back of one.
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