Where to start? Well first the vehicle had a rod sticking through the oil pan when it was given to me.
After replacing the bearings, rings, broken rod, piston, alternator, starter, water pump, oil pan and all new gaskets, (and honing and decking the block and heads), my wife had a nice looking van with a totally rebuilt engine.
This lasted through the winter when last month the 4.3 spun a bearing. This lead to replacing the crankshaft, bearings, a bent rod, and chewed up piston.
The block is tough as nails however, because the bore still gauged out to within spec.
Driving the vehicle is not that uncomfortable, but not as comfy as the old Caravan.
Sitting in the passenger seat is another story altogether. Your legs are crammed in between the engine cover and the wheel well in a space of about eight inches, (maybe six).
I have ridden in front twice, and since then my daughter in the car seat in back has daddy riding with her where it is comfortable.
Cargo space is more than adequate. Having hauled a washer home from the local appliance store with room to spare.
Cup holder and creature comforts seem to have been sacrificed in order to make this mini-van ride and haul like a truck.
Good torque and towing, but poor horsepower and passing ability.
One more note: when looking for an oil cooling line in the junkyard, (the one that blew off and caused the spun bearing), there were no fewer than three out of eight 4.3 liter Safari and Astro vans with connecting rods sticking through the oil pan.
Stay away from the early 4.3 GM engine!