28th Sep 2008, 19:25
I've just purchased a 1994 Lumina mini-van, and for the year it looks very very good, has a 3.1L, with 180,000k's, runs and looks like a jewel, all for 800.00. No rattles, very smooth ride and no complaints.
I looked at a few, including the best seller Dodge Caravan, and the Lumina is what I found best.
Underneath very solid. Only small repair required is the windshield, and the rear door lock doesn't lock. Will be rebuilt with new paint and so on, rather than buying a newer and more expensive van.
So happy to see all the positive comments about this van. Guess I've made the right decision on my purchase.
10th Dec 2008, 12:07
Reading thru the comments I found one that sounded like my car. Reading further, I realized it *was* my car. (I'm the one who replaced a seat with a subwoofer box in a '94.) Well... 4 years later how do I feel about the car? It's served us well, I guess. But, it has been FAR from trouble free. Another alternator, 2 AC compressors (and the AC is broken again), had to replace the transmission 2 years ago - and, the car has developed a major oil leak that I can't find. (I replaced the sending unit, the crankshaft seal, the valve cover and intake manifold gaskets - but, no luck.) The body still looks GREAT! No rust or dents, of course. I think the styling still works after 14 years. But, underneath it is pretty rusty in some places. Repairs have included more door handles than I care to remember (Just consider them disposable parts and grab extras when you go to the junk yard!), numerous tie rods and tie rod ends, struts and mounts, brakes, rotors, hubs, ball joints, 2 fuel pumps, a starter, at least 2 more alternators, EGR valve, water pump, thermostats, and more! I'll repeat: ALWAYS get the lifetime warranty!
So... The car has been far from trouble free. But, it has been mostly reliable and fairly easy to work on. Now, it may be time to move on. When I'm in the market again I'll be looking for something newer. I probably wouldn't buy another Lumina. But, they don't make them anymore anyway. So, that's moot.
My 1990 Caravan, on the other hand, just required a new fuel pump - it's first major repair. But, the AC doesn't work in that one either. It has rust and numerous dents. And, the paint is peeling like CRAZY! I wish I could wrap the reliability of the Caravan in the looks of the Lumina.
17th Feb 2010, 09:07
I have owned a 1990 Chev Lumina APV since 1995 when I purchased it with ~60,000 miles. It just turned over 300,000 miles and it's been a great, reliable vehicle. I've camped out of it, towed a motorcycle trailer, carried my hang glider, use it for our rental property business, etc.
It's been through three starters, three alternators, three water pumps, three radiators, three heater cores, a second fuel pump, had two deer strikes, a couple of new/used injectors and it's still going.
I've added a switch to the lockup converter because it sometimes surges, and I've disconnected the idle air valve due to high idle start-ups.
Original engine and transmission.
I've used synthetic oil (Mobil 1 5W-30) up until recently switching to Rotella Synthetic 5W-40 due to the lack of ZDDP in Mobil-1 lately. This car probably wouldn't have survived had I not worked on it myself and not neglected it. Pick-a-part has lots of salvaged Lumina APV's with half the mileage that mine has in their boneyard that are willing to donate parts to keep mine on the road.
Been a great car - looking forward to 400,000 miles. The wife would like it to die however, but I'm a proud owner...
9th Mar 2010, 20:17
Lumina APV. If the oil leak is on the back side of the engine, it may be leaking around the oil pressure switch. Just had one replaced on a 1994. It has 276,000 miles on it.
3rd Apr 2010, 11:04
I've had two Luminas, a '91 and a '96. One quirk I've found is that I've had a wiper motor fail in each one and for the same cause: The same solder joint on the motor circuit board had a hair-line crack running all the way around it. A quick touch-up with the soldering gun and all was well. For those interested, it was the joint connecting the "ground" pin. Took a while to find it first time but, on a hunch, found it quickly on the '96.
I too have changed more door handles than I care to count. Re-connecting the linkage is only a temporary measure as it's coming undone is usually an indication of something bent or broken.
Currently dealing with a rear wiper that has a mind of its own, and occasionally runs when the switch is OFF.
13th May 2010, 01:12
We have a 1994 Lumina Van with 196000 miles. It has been a really great vehicle for the family. Not a bad ride for long trips and 5 people + luggage + food and drinks crammed inside. It has some annoyances in the design, but overall it has been a great vehicle for us.
No major problems until just recently that a head gasket has blown. All door handles have broken, except outside slider. AC upgraded to R134a some years back. Replaced alternator once, brakes twice, radiator, drivers mirror fell out due to adjusting without using the electronic control.
A lot of miles before it finally broke. Fixable though...
Time for something else. Not worth the cost to fix.
4th Jun 2010, 14:38
My girlfriend bought a 95 Chevy Lumina APV back in 96. It has the 3.1L V6.
Same problems with front outside door handles as everyone else. Had to replace linkage on one. They're made of cheap pot metal and break easy. It is my contention that engineers are instructed to design stuff to break after a while. That way frustrated people will buy a new car.
I replaced the engine with a brand new one a few years ago, and it runs and shifts great.
Just fixed the intermittent wiper problem the other day by fixing cracked solder joints on the wiper motor circuit board. Now I'm from zero to hero again.
Currently need to replace both window motors as they will not roll up or down.
Both the forward door handles are broke again as well as one linkage, which can't be bought at the dealer anymore (obsolete). It looks like I might have to fabricate one out of a metal rod I bought at Home Depot. It'll probably hold up better than the stock one.
The back hatch door handle broke off also (pot metal). Some 5 minute epoxy will take care of that issue.
Replaced the heater core once; man that was a pain in the keester.
Replaced the leaking radiator. It seems the stock one is made of some kind of plastic on the top where the hot water sprays up against it and it cracked from the heat and stress.
Other than that, I guess the Jean Claude Dam Van is OK.
18th Jun 2010, 01:54
I bought a Silver with red pinstriped 94'(not as ugly as it sounds...) at 17, and now at 8 months and 10k (not KM) miles later, my little 3.1 is getting 22MPG average (normal 60/40 driving!) and running like a champ. 141k and not stopping under my watch. xD.
I've installed an awesome sound system, and I just overall like the van, especially for $800. Only problem was - the interior was shot. Been fixing that slowly.
Otherwise, except for the radiator and the starter motor (and a rear wheel bearing setting off the ABS idiot light), this has been terribly reliable considering its abuse and otherwise neglect from its last owners. (Knew the people... put no money, nor time into it for 8 years) Now it seems it needs new struts... however understandable from NE OH roads. haha.
Just put some synthetic oil in it, check your tire pressure, replace your air filter, (it had the original when I bought it) and that's about all I did to manage an average of 22mpg.
Yeah, I get a lot of flack about it being a minivan... but hey... I'm the only person I know of, to completely free and clear buy my car, with no help from anyone other than myself and hours of work. Haha.