21st Jul 2010, 21:04
I had purchased a 1991 Lumina APV about a month ago from a family that had just parked it in their barn with 131,000 miles on it. The paint on the roof was ruined due to wood preservatives leaking on it from the barn beams, and was as about as dirty (outside) as I had ever seen, but like I said I bought it.
We jumped the battery as it was dead, and to my surprise it started righted up and did not skip a beat for the 60 mile trip home.
Once home, I found all the maintenance records for it in the glove box. It turns out that it was a one owner and was parked after the original owner had passed away. It had sat for over 2 years, and I bought it from the estate. I was so happy with it that I re-painted the top surfaces, fixed the A/C and headliner, and drive it daily. Not a bad purchase for $475.00!
It runs so smooth and the cruise even works. This is a keeper for me!
27th Nov 2010, 17:07
I bought a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina van last August for $2600.00
It only had 58,600 miles on it (3.8L engine).
When I bought this minivan, I was looking for it or any one of its clones. The Chevy Lumina APV, Olds Silhouette, and Pontiac Trans Sport are essentially the same.
This van replaced a 1993 Pontiac Trans Sport (3.8L engine) with 294,100 MI on it, which was still running perfectly (used no oil, made no noises) but was broadsided at an intersection. (Before scrapping, I stripped this vehicle of all usable parts, as almost all parts will fit the 95 Chevy Lumina van)
I was so happy with the reliability of these vehicles, that I bought another. (95 Chevy Lumina van - eventually buying 2 of them) No major repairs have ever been needed on the Pontiac, I was the 3rd owner - I knew both previous owners. All 3 of us worked together for an electric utility, and drove this van on the job, racking up many miles. Aside from brake pads, rotors, shoes, and tie rod ends, the only repairs required were 1 starter, 2 alternators, 2 water pumps, 1 radiator, and one wheel bearing.
The air conditioner compressor failed at about 245,000 MI, and was bypassed with a shorter serpentine belt designed for non air conditioned cars - as the compressor was making a lot of noise.
The transmission started to leak a lot at about 280,000 MI. I found the bolts holding a plate to the left side of the transmission housing (Left axle passes through this plate) loose. A couple of bolts were missing. Correcting this problem completely cured the problem.
The windshield wiper motor control board had the same cracked solder joint to ground as discussed in some of the previous posts. My new 95 Chevy Lumina van also had this problem when I bought it. So far, it is the only problem I have had. (Present mileage 64,600 MI) (Just drove it from Michigan to Kentucky and back without any problems) I do most of my own repair work.
Some jobs are easy, but most are not. The reliability of these vans makes up for that. The first thing I did with the 95 Chev Lumina was to go over the undercarriage (the undercarriage is steel) with a welders hammer and chip off the loose rust, spray with a rust converter, and then undercoat with a product called Rustcheck. It is available at Canadian Tire in Canada. (I live near the border and can't find a product like this in the US.) (I have heard that Texaco used to market a similar product called compound L - however I can't find it anywhere) This stuff is a little lighter consistency than Vaseline, and can be sprayed on with an undercoating spray gun. The underside must be checked every year, and new material reapplied as needed. I read an internet posting stating that someone in Montreal, Canada has been doing this. After 19 years, his car still has no rust.
All-in-all, These are very dependable, practical, vehicles. With the plastic outer body shell, these vehicles look much better than much newer vehicles with steel outer panels that rust. With all the rear seats out, you can carry an 4' by 8' sheet of plywood-and with a little maneuvering - the rear door almost closes! I will do anything I can to extend the life of my new (15 year old) Chevy Lumina van. At this point, the local junkyard usually has 3 or 4 of these vehicles - as time goes on I realize that fewer parts vehicles will be available. In the future these vehicles will be collectible. Clubs for collectors will be established, and reproduction parts will be available.
I own a 1940 Chevrolet Special Deluxe, a 1951 Ford Custom Deluxe, a 1952 Studebaker Champion, and a 1966 Ford Galaxie 500. Mechanical parts are easy to find, (A lot of mechanical parts for the "66 Galaxie are still available from NAPA) body and trim parts are harder to find. Many parts are currently being reproduced.
I recently bought another Chevy Lumina van with 177,000 MI - just nicely broken in! Runs perfectly. Lifters used to clatter when first started up after sitting awhile - added Marvel Mystery Oil to crankcase oil - and the problem went away. When something happens to it, it will supply parts for the 95 Lumina van with lower miles.