1986 GMC Van Vandura 2500 5.0 V8 from North America


Vanduras are tough vehicles that probably will outlive their owners


Got this van after it sitting unmoving for 3 years, so a tune up was needed and fluids changed, but would be about the same for any vehicle.

Radiator core died, engine temp reached overheat situation on two occasions, but didn't otherwise affect the engine one bit; it'll probably outlast me.

Radiator hose line blew out recently, fixed with a bit of cutting and linkage replacement for 89 cents.

Minor rip in bench/bed fabric, my fault.

Power windows don't work yet.

General Comments:

The van can haul, and how. I was able to take everything I owned without needing a trailer when moving.

Does have some trouble climbing steep hills, but has no trouble at highway speeds normally.

Suspension slightly rougher than it could be, but justified in that it was built to hold large amounts of weight.

Comfortable interior, quite plush and holds a lot of people.

Exterior has rust on some areas, but only minor surface rust. Blue paint is peeling, but silver stripes are unaffected.

Engine has buckets of torque and refuses to break down.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2009

1986 GMC Van G50 Vandura 305 from North America


Very well engineered, durable and dependable


Speedometer cable noisy; cost $20 to buy and 30 minutes to change.

Radiator had small leak, just soldered it.

We live in the Great Lakes rust belt, so had it sprayed with oil in fall of 97, 98, 99, and 2000. It is rust free with original paint.

Freon would leak out over winter, so I converted it to r134a refrigerant. Did it myself; cost $250 for compressor, dryer, expansion tube, r134A compatible O-rings and freon.

Fan blower motor wore out. I changed it myself in 15 minutes. Cost $45.

Rear u-joint wore out. Changed myself.

Front pitman arm became 50% worn. Changed myself, but was difficult.

A small puff of oil smoke when starting cold, because the valve seals are worn. It's an easy fix, but I have no time.

Starter wore out. I changed myself.

Changed brake pads twice and exhaust once.

Just changed the water pump. Did it myself ($30).

General Comments:

My previous van was a 1980 Ford Econoline van. I drove it for 10 years. It rusted and worn out. I thought it was a very good van. Then I bought this 1986 GMC in 1994. It has been been driven through almost every province and state in North America. I even drove it down the coast of Mexico. It starts on the first turn, and has never broken down once.

It does not use or leak oil.

There is no engine or drive train noise.

Checked the timing chain while changing the water pump, and it was only slightly worn.

I think I can drive this van another 5+ years.

This van refuses to die.

I am so impressed with this van, I just bought a 1988 Chev G20 for $1000. It's in the same condition as my 1985, but has a 350 ci motor to tow my car trailer.

I would recommend these GM VANS to anyone.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd September, 2005

27th Feb 2007, 16:30

I have that same noise in my -86 Vandura. I´d like to know what I can do for it.

28th Feb 2007, 04:33

Hey, the cable will sound like "shh, shh, shh". Or like a small bird, stuck under the dash. Usually is disappears for no reason. Just replace it, it's only a few bucks.

9th Mar 2007, 03:43

Have to change it, if the sound doesn't disappear. I have driven this car few days and the sound is little bit annoying.

9th Mar 2007, 15:50

A bad speedometer cable makes a noise like one of the old "Mad Magazine" sounds --- shicka shicka shicka shicka. Don't know if you'll have to remove the dashboard. Some cars you do, and some it isn't necessary.

The cable itself is cheap, just $10 or so. You find where it goes into the transmission, where it is driven by a gear. You unbolt the cable housing from the transmission case and pull the cable out from under the car, and the entire cable will like as not slide out, or you may have to pivot forward the instrument cluster to remove a clip in the back of the speedometer housing.

The new cable will probably have to be cut to the same length, since they sell them as "one size fits all". You'll have to crimp the churchkey onto one end and feed it up through the cable housing and make sure it engages and fully seats in the back of the speedometer.