I want to give an update on the van. I picked it up on August 17th and explored Colorado before driving it back to Missouri. Here are my impressions:
- Drivability: MUCH better ride than the stock van. I drove 65mph with a 20+mph direct crosswind and it handled very well - frankly, as good or better than my wife's Rav4. I'm very pleased with the smooth ride on the highway, but when the mountain switchback highway sign says, "35mph," you best do it.
Certainly zero death wobble.
- Gas mileage: ouch. My first fill up I had driven from Aurora, CO to FairPlay via Georgetown and Geneva Creek Forest Road (not really that gnarly). I got 5mpg. I figure the transmission, TC, and differentials were getting broken in because I then got 10mpg on Weston Pass Road. The best I got was 12.5mpg including the drive across Kansas on the way home (65mph).
- Offroad: I'm not an experienced off-roader, so I don't have anything to compare it to. I wanted to drive TinCup Pass, but chickened out. So, the only 4-wheeling we did - other than driving to/from campsites - was Weston Pass (my wife reached her day's iPhone movement goal in about 2 hours
) and Medano Pass. In 4-Low and the transmission in 1st gear, the thing climbed like a Mountain Goat. It ran about 2500rpm at 15mph (for reference). Other than some pinstriping, I had zero problem on Medano pass.
I can't think of anything else. If you have questions or need clarification, let me know.