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Old 06-03-2013, 05:31 PM   #1
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What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

Looking for an lower priced used SMB -1996 or newer. See lots of Dodge Rams out there. As this van has been out of production for a decade, I can't seem to find much info on it and SMBs based on this model.

Will talk to my mechanic next chance I get, but does anyone here know how they compare to the Fords of the same era? Better/worse mpg? Better/worse reliability? Better/worse cost of maintenance? etc...
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

Big difference is the structure. Its Unibody, so you can't do as much (i.e. 4x4, big lift, big bumpers etc) compared to the body-on-frame vans.

The powertrains are pretty much the same as the 1500 pickups of the same era. GVWRs were , so a Dodge van will have to step up a size to equal a Ford in payload (I.e. Dodge 2500 = Ford E150). Rear axle payload is especially low on the extended vans, which is compounded by the shorter wheelbase.

Generally I've seen some front end issues with the Dodge vans (early wear on most of the soft suspension parts). Engines don't seem to have any major issues but can have recurring electrical gremlins. Transmissions.... I haven't myself seen a problem with them, but I know the same transmission in the pickups doesn't have a great reputation.

Now being 10 years since production has ceased, some parts may be hard to source. There will always be powertrain parts, but when you get into van-specific item (interior, front end, instruments etc) you may have a tough time finding it on the shelf.

Good news is used parts are plentiful, since the chassis/body never changed from the mid 70s through the end of production.

As far as driving goes, they ride rough and have HUGE turning radius which is surprising considering the short wheelbase. They didn't go extinct just because....
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:35 AM   #3
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

I just recently sold my 2002 Dodge SMB and so sorry I did.
It was incredible for a 2WD. had 60,000 miles on it and never a problem in the world.
I cannot say enough good about it.
if i did not get a 4x4 I would have kept it.

I don't think you can go wrong if you find one in great shape.
good luck
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:43 PM   #4
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

dunno where your at, but ill just leave this right here: http://boise.craigslist.org/rvs/3851135918.html
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:26 AM   #5
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

I love my 97 with the 5.2 ltr. I get between 15 - 19 mpg. Drives great. Smooth ride but not offroad material. I like the floorplan of the craigslist one better but mine was a fraction of the price.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:40 PM   #6
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

Thanks for all the info and the link. I'm in the Orlando, FL area but will catch a plane for a good deal. Stanw909 is that 15-19 mpg highway miles or overall highway/city combo miles?
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:18 AM   #7
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

My Dodge is only 5,700 lbs and low profile so I have gotten 19 Hwy and 15 around town and mountains.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:24 AM   #8
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

Yogiyoda,

Check this one out: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/rvs/3853821712.html

Don't know the seller, never seen the van. From the picts it seems to look well kept considering the age. Good Luck.

Ray
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:03 PM   #9
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:07 PM   #10
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Re: What do you know about Dodge Ram Vans?

Owned my 1995 b35000 for 6 years now... No regrets

Bought from original owner at 120k miles, now have 165k

Repairs
- blown seal on check valve on starcool
- new receiver dryer and condenser
- replaced broken rubber springs with air shocks
- 1 tie rod end and drag link
- front brake pads
- misc painting exterior and interior work
- repair of interior cabinets, the compressed paper gets soft about 15 years in service. Gorilla glue in the screw holes appears to have fixed all the pulled out hinges
- tune up and trans fluid

Just got back from a big road trip, got 16 mpg on highway and 14 in NYC/highway
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