1978 Dodge Van Tradesman B200 360, 5.9L from North America

Summary:

Built to last

Faults:

When purchased:

New motor mounts had just been installed.

Very bad rust problem around the drip edge, especially above the rear door.

Oil pressure gauge did not work, and oil leaked from the oil sending unit.

Driver side door hinge wore out, & door edge is buckled there as a result.

Windshield washer fluid pump worn out.

Power steering fluid leaked @ pump/line connection.

Entire brake aystem worn out, EXCEPT the front pads/calipers, three brake lines, the combination valve, which was clogged, & the supporting brackets, rod & pedal.

No tailpipe & worn out muffler.

Slight transmission fluid leak.

Slight oil leak.

Slight coolant leak.

Shocks worn out.

Idle arms worn out.

Thermostat worn out.

Choke doesn't work.

AC compressor doesn't engage.

Seats have started to wear badly.

Surface rust on original hubcaps.

8 mpg.

Currently:

Water pump worn out.

13 mpg.

General Comments:

This old Detroit special is suffering only from lack of maintenance and not such a good design on the drip edge.

I have put roughly 25,000 on her without a breakdown for a total of at least roughly 100,000 miles known to me. Judging from her age, (32 years), most likely she has turned over and has 200,000, possibly 300,000 miles, considering that her previous owner used her in his tile business.

I call her Ben's Blue Beastie Bomber Box, and she is Beastie. The 360 motor is good and strong, as is the tranny & drive train. This 5.9L will still blow them away, and she hauls big loads with no problem. Thanks Detroit!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd August, 2010

8th Aug 2010, 00:12

I have a 1979 21' class C Jamboree motorhome on a Sportsman chassis with the same motor. At 100k miles the thing still pulls strong, even with the very heavy RV body behind it. I'd buy the regular van version in a heartbeat, and am curious to see what that motor can really do in the standard van body. Your '78 was the last year of the rounded '70s version; '79 and later has the newer, boxy '80s style look.

1978 Dodge Van Tradesman 318 from North America

Summary:

Built right in America

Faults:

The van ran great the first 6 years. In 1994 carburetor jets would clog up. I had to rebuild it and this happened several times before I finally bought a new carb. Radiator went at 100,000 miles. I felt that it was because it was 20 years old at the time. I put a fuel and water pump on it two years ago. I had to do the front wheel bearings about 5 times in the 15 years I have owned it. It came out of a state of New Jersey motor pool and had been kept by a salt pile for years. It was and is very very rusty. It's transmission seals are going as it slips when cold and won't move for a little while. Not bad as it's almost 26 years old. I used it to tow a 30-foot travel trailer between 1993 and 2003. I towed it from NJ to FL in 96 without a problem.

General Comments:

It's old and still tough. It'll haul a house.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th July, 2003