Welcome. Open your wallet!
I own 8 Dodge vans including a 96 and a 4x4.
Putting aside comments from non Dodge owners I will generalize my response to your questions:
Put all systems back to factory new equivalent.
Drive it and use it as is until parts start falling off it. By then you’ll have received more than full value from it.
Every dollar you spend on it will provide a poor return. Regardless of manufacturer. It’s a vehicle.
Here is my generic just bought a Dodge what to look for list:
Battery tray and inner wheelhousing beneath it will be rotted out from battery acid.
It’s a unibody vehicle so check all the suspension mounting areas for rot and cracks.
The strut rod bushings will be shot and not look bad. Creaking and groaning at low speed, like speed bumps, is the symptom. Replace them with factory or Moog pieces only. Install exactly as instructed.
If rad is not plastic and aluminum replace it.
Timing chain on small block Chryslers is very long and prone to stretching. Replace it with a Hughes engines’ deburred unit and run the V6 Magnum engine chain tensioner.
Front brake pads start to rattle over time on unpaved roads. Beat the ears of the pads over HARD with a hammer.
Replace the rear end lube. No one ever does and the rear axle gets noisy.
Watch your weight. Fully converted B250/2500 3/4 tons are almost always over their legal gross when loaded and ready for a trip.
Older units; If the alternator goes use a very high quality reman unit and check the output at idle. The internal parts on Mopar alts are very close in size and shape and regularly get mismatched by rebuilders. There is an adjustable voltage regulator on the market that fits and helps boost the idle voltage.
Exterior rear view mirrors have a clip in them that breaks and the damn thing folds in when you slam the door.
When the key is first turned to “run” the check engine light comes on as a test of the light’s function. The day it doesn’t replace the pcm/ computer. It’s toast.
Turning the key to run then off to run to off to run should cycle the pcm code reading feature. Handy when diagnosing gremlins.
Buy the factory service manual. Get it on CD. Cheaper.
My 96 would burp and sputter with low fuel levels. New fuel pump fixed it. Fixes gas gauge issue too.
is your friend.