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93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
2/13/12 8:01 a.m.

So what are Dodge Ram vans like to own (late second generation ~1988-1993 and early third generation)? Are they hard to work on? And what are those Japanese lowered Dodges called? Basically tell me what you know about the Dodge vans (not the lowered ones in particular).

Woody
Woody SuperDork
2/13/12 8:05 a.m.

Dajiban.

patgizz
patgizz SuperDork
2/13/12 8:23 a.m.

here we go again

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
2/13/12 8:57 a.m.
patgizz wrote: here we go again

??

failboat
failboat Dork
2/13/12 8:58 a.m.

Other than throwing expensive jdm tyte rims and suspension pieces at them, I dont think Dajiban is anything groundbreaking. Its the same vanning E36 M3 from the 60s-80s as far as customizing goes. Besides, most of the ones I have seen done up are factory passenger vans, they are doing it wrong.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 SuperDork
2/13/12 9:20 a.m.

My dad has I believe a '94 250 Ram van. It doesn't have a lot of miles on it. Stuff has fallen off of it every so often. Brakes, wheels bearings, pretty much all the paint, the usual water pump. Front suspension was pretty much worn out the day after he drove it home after buying it brand new. Engine access isn't good. When I talked to him Friday he was working on replacing a fuel line with plastic fittings that had fallen apart and leaked half a tank of gas out on his hot engine while he was driving back home.

The old-school 318 V8 is still going strong, but everything else pretty much stinks. Put me in the not overly impressed camp.

moparman76_69
moparman76_69 Reader
2/13/12 9:26 a.m.

Win.

They are for the most part dodge trucks, just without the truck part. Apparently the lower A-arms are different than the trucks, I've heard of guys using the van arms to lower the front ends of trucks. Older ones are /6 or 318 with some havinga 360 option. All late 80s and 90s vans are 3.9 or 5.2 with a 5.9 option that I haven't seen alot. If you want a "work van" style then most 1/2 tons will be a 3.9.

And yes as far as I can tell the Japanese just lower them and put rims on them. I'm guessing a lot of them are US military sell-offs.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
2/13/12 10:10 a.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: My dad has I believe a '94 250 Ram van. It doesn't have a lot of miles on it. Stuff has fallen off of it every so often. Brakes, wheels bearings, pretty much all the paint, the usual water pump. Front suspension was pretty much worn out the day after he drove it home after buying it brand new. Engine access isn't good. When I talked to him Friday he was working on replacing a fuel line with plastic fittings that had fallen apart and leaked half a tank of gas out on his hot engine while he was driving back home. The old-school 318 V8 is still going strong, but everything else pretty much stinks. Put me in the not overly impressed camp.

So not as good as Chevrolets.

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar Dork
2/13/12 11:20 a.m.

I just bought an '01 Ram Van 1500 for my shop. It's a basic cargo van. No glass in the cargo doors or cargo area. 318 Magnum, 518 overdrive automatic, 3.55 geared 9 1/4" rear. Good basic truck with a tow package. It was a private sale from a guy I know and trust.

For a big barn is moves along well and handles pretty decent. I'm the 3rd owner. It was repainted a few years ago by the 2nd owner. Looks good.

This van is very solid. Thought about putting a pic of it in my GRM garage but since it has the shop logos on it I didn't want to come across as looking for free advertising and annoy the powers that be.

I looked at a '96 Ram Van a couple weeks earlier. Dealer sent photos of the outside which looked good. They forgot to mention the hole in the floor large enough for me to put my fist through. I wouldn't have been quite as annoyed if it wasn't an hour drive to go look at it.

cwh
cwh SuperDork
2/13/12 11:31 a.m.

I honestly don't think there is much difference between Dodge and Chevy, as far as longevity and ease of service goes. They all will need help occasionally, the engines can be difficult to get at at times, handling can be a bit strange. I understand that the Dodge can be made to handle very well with a bit of help. I have had 7 vans, from a '64 Dodge to a 98 Chevy. Would love to find a real early Dodge again, but they are long gone. Vans are great for long trips. Lot's of room, secure, can sleep inside in peace.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory New Reader
2/13/12 11:35 a.m.

This summer I was conversing with a gentleman with a looong history of vans and has owned two of the models you mentioned. If he was my only source, I would never touch one and would buy a Ford. He kept insisting the structure ahead of the front suspension (frame and bumper support) rusted beyond repair as did other Ram Vans he knew of.

My wife's uncle sells used vans and light trucks for a living and basically will only buy and sell E-Series vans. I'll see if he can give me some back up on the why's and relay it here.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo SuperDork
2/13/12 11:51 a.m.

You can pull the transmission out and rebuild it without ever lifting it off the ground. That about all I know.

Moparman
Moparman HalfDork
2/13/12 12:13 p.m.

In reply to Rob_Mopar:

Would like a Dodge Cargo Van. Maybe with a Mopar Performance Crate Motor?

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar Dork
2/13/12 12:42 p.m.

In reply to Moparman:

I have a spare 360 Magnum in the shed if/when the 318 gets tired. Would build one myself to better suit the use of the van. But a 410 HP Magnum would make for some speedy deliveries...

Moving_Target
Moving_Target New Reader
2/13/12 2:50 p.m.

Funny this one came up since I'm resurrecting an '84 Dodge Ram Van (I think it's an '84) as a work van for my father.

The Holley 1945 1bbl developed a flooding issue 3 yrs ago and my father just left it parked on his driveway. I've been making slow progress on it in between my work shifts and got it running early last week.

The suspension is done, body is so-so, various electrical bits are non-working (am/fm button on radio, turn signal switch and fuel/temp guages, alternator has a noisy bearing), battery tray needs to be cut out and replaced but maybe I'm sick in the head (no argument from me), I kinda like driving it. The transmission shifts nice and firm, power isn't great but it moves with authority even so with the slant six. Was I a bus driver in a former life?

What is the fix for a busted voltage regulator which I assume is the reason for the non-functional guages?

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr Reader
2/13/12 2:55 p.m.

In reply to Moving_Target:

Replace it with a known good one. HA!

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar Dork
2/13/12 3:18 p.m.

In reply to Moving_Target:

I think the '84 still used a voltage limiter on the back of the gauge cluster. It will look like the rectangular zinc box in this picture (the one the screwdriver is pulling up).

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi Reader
2/13/12 3:19 p.m.

I've driven a half million miles in dodge vans. I hauled Amish for a couple years, mine were dead nuts reliable. 318 powered, tow OK. I look every so often but I own a mini van and a Mazda5 so I think a truck will serve me better.

admc58
admc58 Reader
2/14/12 8:35 a.m.

Had a 1978 b-250 version for race tow van. Queen sized foam matress mounted high enough in the back to allow race tires, jack & tools to fit under.

I finally had the 318 2barrell spin a rod...still drove it for a couple of month knocking like....Installed a 360 with an "RV" cam and did a really good tune on a a Carter Thermoquad. There is really no sound like a open breathing thermoquad wide open!!! It would get better MPG than the 318 and pull harder when needed.

Trans in the old ones were either the 901 or the 727. both 3-speeds (no OD). I set mine up with a really tall final drive, something like a 2.9 or 2.7 lsd so that highway speed rpm was down like it would have been with an od trans but lost a little off the line pull.

Had an oil leak start an engine fire during a Gas stop in S Georgia and after putting out the fire I spent 3 hours splicing in new wire to the main harness that runs over the back of the block. Finally made it to Sebring for the race but had to borrow a fire extinguisher to get on track... Alan

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar Dork
2/14/12 9:58 p.m.

My wife had a couple pics of our van before I put the shop's magnetic signs on it:

Moving_Target
Moving_Target New Reader
2/14/12 10:30 p.m.
Rob_Mopar wrote: In reply to Moving_Target: I think the '84 still used a voltage limiter on the back of the gauge cluster. It will look like the rectangular zinc box in this picture (the one the screwdriver is pulling up).

I putzed around with it today and took it apart. My solution was to bang the regulator against a tabletop and reinstall it. Gas guage is reading 'something' now but the temp guage is still DOA. I'm suspecting a bad sensor.

Where is the temp sensor located on a bent six? I'll save me some trouble looking it up.

admc58 wrote:

Had a 1978 b-250 version for race tow van. Queen sized foam matress mounted high enough in the back to allow race tires, jack & tools to fit under. Alan

When I was a youngster, my dad owned a '73 Tradesman van (318 & 3 speed auto) as his work vehicle. When we went on summer vacation, he rigged up a plywood shelf as a bed that us kids slept on. One night I fell off twice, landing on my dad and older brother sleeping below, without waking up. To be able to sleep that soundly nowadays.

ransom
ransom Dork
2/14/12 11:11 p.m.
chandlerGTi wrote: I've driven a half million miles in dodge vans. I hauled Amish for a couple years, mine were dead nuts reliable.

They always seemed like a pretty steadfast people to me, too...

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
2/15/12 12:10 a.m.

^^^ I was so waiting for that remark

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar Dork
2/15/12 8:52 a.m.
Moving_Target wrote: Where is the temp sensor located on a bent six? I'll save me some trouble looking it up.

Look at the front of the cylinder head near the radiator hose. Single wire connection. Probably a purple wire with a rubber molded press on connector. Check the wire to see if it's broken before grabbing a sender for it. I've had a couple dry rot and break where the connector meets the wire. Don't see it until you go to pull the sender...

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi HalfDork
2/15/12 3:36 p.m.
ransom wrote:
chandlerGTi wrote: I've driven a half million miles in dodge vans. I hauled Amish for a couple years, mine were dead nuts reliable.

They always seemed like a pretty steadfast people to me, too...

Clever, better punctuation next time.

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