1985 Dodge Van B150 318 V8 from North America
The ultimate in versatility
Catalytic converter failed.
Water pump failed.
Smog pump failed.
Fan clutch replaced.
Sliding side door problems.
I purchased my B150 passenger van used and it was in like-new condition with 90,000 miles on it.
The vehicle has had some routine repairs and service, but nothing unusual for a van of this age or mileage.
The Dodge has been exceptionally reliable. It has never failed to start or run, even after sitting for prolonged periods of time.
It is an extremely versatile vehicle which can haul eight passengers and all their luggage in comfort across country. The seats can be removed, leaving a true flat cargo floor for carrying cargo, including motorcycles. And of course it can tow a full-size trailer.
The driver seating position is extremely good. The armrests are actually in the right place for once and if feels a lot like driving in a Barcalounger. The controls are extremely easy to operate and fall naturally at the driver's fingertips. No myriad of tiny similar looking black buttons as can be found on many GM vehicles.
The 318 c.i. V8 engine produces adequate power. It's no hot rod, but seems to keep up with similar vehicles. The engine at 200,000 miles has required no internal work at all, only routine maintenance. The automatic choke works perfectly as does the cruise control.
The Dodge full-size van has the advantage of unibody construction versus Ford or Chevy. This results in a van with a lower floor and entry height, a more supple ride and a more car-like feel. The short nose, compared with Ford and Chevy gives the Dodge a superior turning radius and excellent visibility which is perhaps why they are the number one choice of airport shuttle companies across America.
The only warnings I have regarding the Dodge van is the optional sliding side door. The sliding mechanism is prone to failure. While affording easy narrow access to the rear seats, it's a heavy and complex mechanism which will require service every 6 months or year to function properly. I would highly recommend the double or "barn" doors instead.
One option which was available on Dodge vans was a family package which included rear seats that would fold flat into a full-size bed, complete with bedding storage compartments underneath. They could also be flipped to face each other and a table installed between them to use as a dinette. These are trick for vacationing families.
The gas tank is huge, holding 34 gallons. Driving at a nominal 65 MPH will net ~15-17 MPG giving you a range of 500 miles. Our family could gas up in Los Angeles and drive all the way to Utah with gas left over. Pretty remarkable.
Lastly, the air conditioning system on ours (the short wheelbase model) works excellent and chills the vehicle, even in Phoenix in summer very well.
Overall the Dodge has been great for us and I highly recommend it to anyone needing a full-size passenger van.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th August, 2003
I just sold my B250 Prospector after owning it for 20 years and 2 months. I did upgrade the air conditioner in 1999 when the compressor failed. It was upgraded to the latest technology and worked perfectly. The van had 115000 miles and had the original body with only minor rust spots. The transmission was original. I loved the vehicle. It had all of the options available with the exception of the rear air and tape player (I upgraded with an Infinity stereo).