1972 Dodge Van Tradesman 100 225 slant 6 1bbl. from North America
Most reliable vehicle ever built
With this many miles, lots of the typical things. It's had an engine rebuild (cost $15, because it only needed 1 ring), many brake jobs, a second paint job, rust repair, windshield replacement from a rock hit, and a replaced drive shaft from the one of the previous owners' recklessness. Now, for some repairs unique to the vehicle:
Steering. Mine has manual steering, and the upper bearing wears our quickly because it doesn't get oil easily. I replaced the bearings the second year I owned the vehicle, and now it needs it again. 100,000 plus miles is respectable, though.
Windshield wiper motor/linkages: I've gone through 3 wiper motors, all "rebuilt." maybe they're just poor quality rebuilds, but I seem to use them up rather quickly. the bushings on the linkages tend to crack with age and need replacement.
Leaks: the weatherstripping around the cargo doors is dried out and leaks with a passion whenever it rains.
Bizarre repairs: my father bought the van in 1978, and the original motor broke in half on the drive home (unheard of with slant 6's, which are practically indestructible.) the previous owners were not exactly the most prestigious individuals, as he also had to patch a number of bullet holes in the back.
I drive this van everywhere, and though everything. It was my first car, and even with all these miles, still purrs beautifully.
Even with the 1 barrel carburetor and slant 6, it's still amazingly quick. I've outrun a Camaro and Mustangs, But lost to an Explorer (?!) when I had 6 passengers. Definitely has plenty of power and torque, even with the smallest engine option. I just bought a 77 with a 318, and have yet to see how the increase in power will feel. should be interesting.
The mileage with the slant 6 and 3 speed manual transmission is astoundingly good. I range between 20-26 mpg, depending on what kind of driving I'm doing. I have never gotten below 20.
It's lime-green paint is very eye-catching, I get a lot of bizarre looks as I drive around. You'll never lose it in a parking lot.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 10th March, 2006
This is a pretty cool vehicle, and good for you for continuing to drive it. However, I've got to point out that replacing a piston ring does not constitute an "engine rebuild". As much as I like the slant 6/3-on-the-tree setup, I've also got to say that if you think you are "outrunning Mustangs and Camaros" then you are really deluding yourself. I went through the same thing. I thought my slant six with a 3-speed manual was pretty fast, and when I drove a 318 2-barrel for the first time I thought maybe it was a 440 because it felt so fast. In reality, the slant 6 is just that slow. Don't get me wrong, it's a great, durable, long lasting engine, but it's silly to talk about beating Camaros and Mustangs in a slant six Tradesman.