1982 GMC Van G-20 305 4bbl V8 from North America
Useful and reliable
114,000 km, rebuilt driveshaft, replaced all 4 ball joints and all 4 shocks, new radiator, new brakes, new battery.
118,000 km, rebuilt differential.
120,000 km. Bypassed seized heat riser valve and seized thermostatic controller for the ignition timing. This improved fuel economy and power.
128,000 km, sun gear in transmission broke.
This is my third full-size GM van. I bought this one (only $350) because, although it was 19 years old at the time, it was rust-free and low mileage. The original owner stopped driving it in 1984 due to health reasons.
However, his son drove it for a bit and abused it, resulting in a bent driveshaft, and differential and transmission damage that did not show up until later.
Other than repairing this damage, the truck has been extremely reliable.
This truck is a rare 8-passenger version, with windows all around. The windows greatly improve visibility and add give it an open, airy feel.
There is huge amounts of room inside. With the third row seat removed, you have an 8-foot cargo floor and STILL get 5 people on board. There is far more interior space than any SUV or minivan. There is also more usable cargo space than any pick-up truck out there.
The ride is smooth, quiet and very comfortable for a full size van. The 305 provides adequate power. Acceleration is somewhat leisurely, but even with a heavy load and towing a big trailer, there is still enough power to keep up with traffic, even up hills.
The van feels very solid and steady. Heavy loads and heavy trailers do not bother it at all.
Unless you get vented (pop-up) rear windows, the airflow for the back seats is poor.
Gas mileage around town is poor but is acceptable on the highway.
There is little 'crush' space at the front, in case of accidents. Apparently, these vans have very rigid structures and do not collapse in an accident. This is okay if you hit a 'soft' object, but a high-speed collision with an unyielding object, like a wall or really big tree will mean certain death.
Overall, I love this truck. It is very useful, comfortable and versatile.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th April, 2009
6th Apr 2009, 22:50
I agree with everything you said.. I had a '79 Chevy van when I was 18. Same vehicle.. these Chevy vans' chassis and basic design remained the same from the late 70's to mid 90's.. So you know they got something right! Mine was the Shorty cargo van but had windows all around, I tinted them and added carpeting to the back. Party wagon! My only complaint is that my '79 had no power steering so when navigating parking lots or other tight spaces I got a serious upper-body workout- at least I was young so I was up to the task. Mine had a straight 6 and would tow anything I put behind it. Great vans, these were.
23rd Nov 2014, 02:36
I wrote this review 5 years ago. Since then, I have driven this van another 50,000 km.
I replaced the transmission with a used one from a 1991 pick up truck. These THM 700 transmissions were improved a lot over the years. The earliest ones from 1982 tended to break a lot. Newer ones are much better.
I bought it for $150 and installed it myself. Easy job. Otherwise, the truck has needed nothing at all, except oil changes. Even the brakes and shocks are the same and work fine. Excellent truck.