1983 Chevrolet Van Review

1983 Chevrolet Van Vandura 2500 305 V8, 4bbl from North America

Year of manufacture1983
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 305 V8, 4bbl Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired117000 kilometres
Most recent distance120000 kilometres
Previous carAMC Grand Wagoneer

Summary:

Very inexpensive to buy and run

Faults:

The front suspension required new ball joints and pitman arm.

New brakes, rotors and drums were installed.

The factory paint had flaked off in some places allowing surface rust to form. Some paint repair was required.

Both universal joints required replacement, but there is still a minor drive shaft vibration.

General Comments:

This van is terrific. The gas mileage is very good for its size and weight and gets up to 20 MPG on the highway.

The engine power is only adequate. It has plenty of power for maintaining speed up hills on the highway, even when loaded, but the acceleration just keeps up with average traffic speeds.

This van has windows all around which helps visibility. The ride is a bit firm, but smoother than other 3/4 ton trucks.

It handles very well for its size and the factory finished interior keeps the road noise down.

Repairs are very easy to make. The truck is mechanically quite simple and the parts are inexpensive.

The seats are uncomfortable for long trips. I wish they had armrests and could recline.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th May, 2003

20th Nov 2005, 21:36

It is now 2 and a half years since I wrote this review. The van has another 16,000 kms on it. Generally its only used for hauling large loads or towing, or both, so it does not get much mileage, but its very useful.

I installed some aftermarket gauges for oil pressure, engine temp and volts, since the original warning lights are almost useless. It was an easy installation, though.

It turns out the previous owner's son had abused the vehicle with too much wheel spinning, causing a bent driveshaft and damaged differential gears in the rear axle. Both were repaired, for about $800, when the noise and vibration got too bad. Its now really smooth.

I installed a transmission cooler because, when towing on a hot day, the trans started to shudder a bit when pulling away from a stop (overheating) It has since worked flawlessly for 10,000 km, so I suspect no damage was done.

Otherwise it's been running perfectly. I do wish the rocker panels on the drivers side had better rust protection.

13th Jun 2007, 19:02

Whoops, about 2000 km after the comment I made above, the transmission let go, with a loud grinding/crunching noise. I suspect something in a planetary gear set broke. This was the first year for the THM 700 R4 trans. Early transmissions like this had a bit of a reputation for breaking.

Its parked in my garage now. Eventually, I will remove the trans and rebuild it. At least these transmissions are relatively easy to remove.

22nd Dec 2009, 19:21

Hi,

Me again. The van sat around for 2 years with a broken transmission.

I took the old trans apart and found a broken ring gear in one planetary set. Apparently this is a common problem for early 700-R4 transmissions.

I picked up a used (recently rebuilt) 1991 THM 4L60 transmission - which is identical to a 700-R4, for $150.

I installed it myself - very easy job - and the van runs very nicely again.

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 1 review