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Old 08-25-2012, 09:34 AM   #1
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Newbie & buying 1995 chevy sportsmobile- really need advice!

Hello!
I am a middle age single woman desperate for advice. I found a 1995 Chevy 350 Sportsmobile on EBAY from a local car dealer for 5995. It has the pop up roof and is in amazing condition- the inside is spotless and looks brand new - positive it was professionally cleaned. It's a top of the line model and I am totally in love ( a very bad omen) The outside has no rust - kept in garage and the paint still shines. Good tires and the engine purrs. 2 owners- the 1st were an older couple- the second had it 3 yrs and rarely used it.
2 issues:
1- 187,000 miles- older couple- highway miles and the engine was serviced regularly with great care. I think it's a fair trade-off to expect to eventually drop another engine in this van at some point- a 350 engine is one of the best ever made and I don't think I'll find a conversion in better condition for the money.

2- it died an hour after I drove it off the lot! The dealer came and got me- is going to tow the van and have it repaired. I was driving in city stop-and-go traffic and it kept losing power at every stoplight. My non-professional description: pressing on gas- engine slower and slower to respond- does not "reve" - sluggish - slow response regardless of how much gas I give it- not moving into next gear once it does start moving. Then it dies - I muscle it into a lot while it still has momentum- ignition clicks - lights and DC are bright so getting power- no ignition or engine sounds - nothing....

OK- so now I'm scared! Dealer intends to fix it- but maybe I should get my money back and start over????
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
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Re: Newbie & buying 1995 chevy sportsmobile- really need adv

You might consider hiring a pro mechanic to put it through a thorough testing. The dealer is only interested in moving the vehicle from inventory and not much else... so you might bypass his "repair" and get it done right so that you regain trust in the vehicle.
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:50 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie & buying 1995 chevy sportsmobile- really need adv

Thanks - My mechanic was scheduled to look at it on Monday- he is 40 miles from the car dealer so I have take it to him- made a "non-binding" agreement w/ dealer- he would fix anything wrong w/ a major system if something was found. Again tho- I'm caught in a trust situation.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:19 PM   #4
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Re: Newbie & buying 1995 chevy sportsmobile- really need adv

One thing you probably should factor into the purchase equation is it's a 17 year old machine. The older the machine the more repairs it's going to need. If you really like the vehicle you can repair any component on it and get it in trustworthy shape. It sounds like you have a favorite mechanic. I'd suggest you have a long talk with him after he does the inspection and see what shape the costly to repair major components are in.

The 350 engine with a TH400 trans are some of the best and longest lasting drive train components Chevy put out. I wouldn't be afraid of buying something that old. Expect to have a few issues before you get it dialed in.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:11 PM   #5
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Re: Newbie & buying 1995 chevy sportsmobile- really need adv

Not all of this may apply to your situation but some good stuff is in this link
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6192

I wish you all the best...



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Old 08-25-2012, 04:24 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie & buying 1995 chevy sportsmobile- really need adv

Another way to look at the issue is to be happy about the van quitting. Sound strange you say? If you look you may see the silver lining in this dark cloud. You were able to talk the dealership into fixing the problem and while it's at your mechanic you may be able to find other things to fix on the dealers dime.

If you had the problem a month from now you would be on your own for the repair.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:39 PM   #7
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Re: Newbie & buying 1995 chevy sportsmobile- really need adv

Since 1977 Until 2010 I only had GM vans. They for the most part are really good. The last one I had was also a 1995. Am not sure by your description what the problem might be. The loss of power sound like it could be plugged exhaust but the no starting sounds more like charging system, battery or such. Its hard to know for sure but if the dealer can and will fix it I think you will be ok. While the van is older the miles are not that high because its only 11,000 a year.

That 350 TBI motor is good and other than little things (oil leaks mostly) should last and it is not that costly to replace it. If and when the time comes to replace it I would only install a new or rebuilt (from GM is best) not a used one. Assuming its a G30 (not a G20) the transmission should be a 4L80e (4L60e on the G20) which is a super good transmission and can be rebuilt if needed. The only other things that are common problems with them are ball joints (the lower ones especially) and the electric fuel pumps.

After you get it back from the dealer and let your shop check it out and make their recommended repairs the one additional thing I would replace just to know its done is that pump and the fuel filter. Unless you have service records and know for sure it has been replaced recently just do it. It is best to do it with less than 1/4 tank of gas as the fuel tank has to come down to do it. The other things I would do to help be reliable are.

Cooling system flush and new hoses and probably a new not rebuilt water pump.
Complete brake check including pack the front wheel bearings and new axle seals front and rear.
Flush the brake fluid. Change the rear axle gear lube (this goes with the rear axle seals) change.
Check the front and rear suspension shocks and such.
A major tune up with plugs,cap rotor, plug wires and filters.
Transmission Service, check the u joints.

By spending some money on it now you will know whats been done and when.
I know its scary to have a vehicle you just bought break down but with a little work it should be a reliable van for you to enjoy for years to come.


If you have any questions about it let me know...
...Jamie
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:53 PM   #8
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Re: Newbie & buying 1995 chevy sportsmobile- really need adv

The loss of power could be as simple as bad spark plug wires.Even if they are brand new.
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