2003 Chevrolet Van Express Cargo 2500 5.3L V8 from North America
Heavy duty hauler with power to spare
To early for anything to have happened yet.
I do need to replace the inner ball joints, seems as though the previous owner enjoyed going over bumps and through dips with a little too much enthusiasm. Also, I have heard it is a Chevy trademark to go through them regularly.
The power of this 5.3L V8 even with the van fully loaded is nothing short of amazing. My 94 2500 work truck with the 5.7L had nothing on this van. I have it fully loaded with electrical equipment, spools of wire, and tools and it rides and accelerates as if its empty. It has a power rating of 285HP and 325lbs/ft. but feels stouter than that. The torque curve is excellent.
Where this van falls short is in the handling department, it is every inch the ponderous beast that it looks like. Sloppy around corners with tremendous rebound, it doesn't inspire much confidence, my truck was much better in this regard.
The interior is very noisy with no insulation or sound deadening to speak of, so on the highway it gets very loud. But having all my tools in one space and dry when its raining is a HUGE plus. I don't have to worry when I'm on a job, just lock the doors and everything is gravy.
Overall, its everything I expected out of a van, and everything I knew it wasn't. If you value flexibility and cargo safety over a luxurious cabin and style, than this van will do the trick, otherwise, a truck with a cargo body will suit you better. If I didn't work out of my vehicle so much, I would have chosen a Sierra or a Silverado, but this van is perfect for what I do.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th March, 2008
Original poster here.
Just replaced the factory Bridgestones at 70,000 miles. Also had them change the shocks with some heavy duty Monroes. WOW!! What a difference new tires and shocks made on this beast. A lot less body roll and jounce, and a noticeable difference in traction. Don't read me wrong, I'm not saying it handles like a regular truck, just that it's quite a difference.
I bought a set of Bridgestone APT IV tires, they come with an excellent 60,000 miles. warranty and an aggressive tread pattern. I wasn't so sure about the tread pattern, only because I value quiet tires seeing as my van lets in enough road noise as it is, but its not so bad, and waaaaaay better than the worn down originals. I can hear the rubber grabbing (or is that grinding) the road around corners, but it's not bothersome.
As for the shocks, a big difference from the worn out stock ones. As I said before, a lot less rebound around uneven corners, and the van doesn't bob up and down so much over speed bumps and the like.
I also replaced the brakes not too long ago, around 69,000 miles. They were the original set and apparently I let them go too long, so I was forced to replace the rotors as well, very costly, but if these ones last 70,000 miles., than I'll be very happy.
Otherwise, having had the van a little over a year, I can say that I am not disappointed with the purchase. I do prefer the driving style and characteristics of a heavy duty truck, but for cargo hauling, safety, and convenience (ie. being able to access all your stuff from one side, not having to deal with your stuff getting wet or worrying if something is going to fly out of your bed), it really cannot be beat.
Oh, and as far as fuel mileage goes, I am averaging 15.5 mpg. overall, with about 60% of my driving in the city. I averaged a high of 16.3 mpg on a long highway stint. And this is in a vehicle that weighs about 6700 lbs. fully loaded. It's no diesel, which is my next vehicle, but I am satisfied with it.