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Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/4/21 8:31 p.m.

I won't go into it too far, but my low-mileage, rust-free Fordzda Branger is a steaming pile of dogE36 M3.  I had hoped it would be a long-term vehicle, but it is a total lemon and it spends more time torn apart for repairs than it does on the road.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it....

Looking for:
a SWB Chevy Express/GMC Savannah.  Must be AWD (not to be confused with Stabilitrak - different animal).  No need to worry about engine/trans preference, all of the AWD vans had the 5.3/4L60E with rare exceptions.  Passenger preferred, but cargo OK.  Sliding door preferred, but swing door OK... especially if its one of the ones with doors on both sides, but they're pretty rare.  I would ask for a 3/4 ton, but those are 2003-only and its easier to find hen's teeth.

Would also consider a 4x4 compact pickup:
Nissan Frontier V6, Tacoma V6, Colorado I-5, or similar truck.  Needs to be able to tow 5000-ish.  Ext cab with a 6-ish foot bed (I can't really use the teeny beds on most crew cab compacts, nor do I really need the additional seating.)

Could be convinced:
Tundra, Titan, F150, K1500, etc.  It will be hard to get over the fact that I can reach the entire bed floor of my Branger without crawling inside the bed, but that is something I would consider.

Long shots:
- K2500 Duramax ext cab.... but at my budget, that doesn't buy much truck
- Econoline with a 4x4 conversion... again, my money doesn't buy much Quigley

Trying to avoid:
Dodge. I've owned two, and I think I would rather have my current busted Branger than own another Dakota or Ram.

Willing to entertain in the $10-15k range.  Fly and drive OK.  My big pet peeves are rust and high mileage.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/5/21 8:50 a.m.

I looked down south...  

FB Listing asking $10.6k and only 87k but it looks like part of the $10k buys into his detailing business.  Extract some of that and the price might be better.  The good news is he probably keeps it clean.  Charlotte, NC is not too far away but keeps it rust free.

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/5/21 9:02 a.m.
captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
1/5/21 9:06 a.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 9:17 a.m.
John Welsh said:

I looked down south...  

FB Listing asking $10.6k and only 87k but it looks like part of the $10k buys into his detailing business.  Extract some of that and the price might be better.  The good news is he probably keeps it clean.  Charlotte, NC is not too far away but keeps it rust free.

 

That is actually something worth looking at.  Messaged seller

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/5/21 9:33 a.m.

Good. 

Tow down an empty trailer with the Ranger. If you like the van, use the van to tow back the Ranger. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/5/21 6:33 p.m.

I don't think the Branger would make it without a trailer.  It barely made it home from a 200 mile trip last week.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/12/21 2:58 p.m.

Ok, back on the prowl.  The one promising one that John posted turned out to be a no-go.  Seller fessed up that the CEL was on for "probably just a bad solenoid" which probably means "transmission berkeleyed."  He also said that the A/C is inop, which might be an easy fix or a whole kit.

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
1/12/21 3:13 p.m.
John Welsh said:

This one makes this one look cheap and makes this one look small

Does fb now require fuzzy pictures, or is it my phone that only sees them that way?

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/12/21 4:38 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

I'm guessing that the seller was not willing to drop the price far enough to compensate for the price of repairs? 

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/12/21 5:21 p.m.

Well, I may have misinterpreted his solenoid thing.  He doesn't seem to be very auto-savvy.  He says there is a bad solenoid (or silinoid, as he puts it) but it's not in the transmission.  He said it is causing a CEL.  I can't think of any solenoids that would cause a CEL other than in the transmission.

He seems to be willing to deal.  He offered to take the detailing stuff out of the van and sell it himself and asked me to make an offer on just the van.  I told him something like "pending a buddy checking it out.... if it's as good as you say... blah blah.... $7000"  That's when he broke out the honesty and told me about the CEL and A/C.  So, yes, he seems to be willing to negotiate.

He welcomed having someone come look at it, so maybe it's not a dead deal.  As long as it's not a transmission solenoid... who knows how long he's been driving it with funky trans pressures.  If I were to buy it with a bad transmission solenoid, I would only do it if he takes an additional $3000 off so I can have it rebuilt.  A/C is a weekend of my time and $350.

One part of me is saying that it's an opportunity to negotiate a great price on a southern van that I want.  The other part of me is saying to just get a van that doesn't have question marks all over it.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
1/12/21 5:41 p.m.

Ooohhhh 90 gallon gas tank.   Are these things rated at 11mpg?

Uncle David (Forum Supporter)
Uncle David (Forum Supporter) Reader
1/12/21 7:09 p.m.

How often do you actually tow 5K? I bet an AWD Sienna would handle that well enough every now and then.  You get AWD, a big interior, sliding doors, invisibility, good acceleration, low floor height, and Toyota reliability, with little to no Toyota tax. 

 

https://www.siennachat.com/threads/show-us-what-you-are-towing.335/

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/12/21 7:21 p.m.

Good thought, but it won't cut it.  I sometimes haul very large cargo.  A few weeks ago it was two fridges, sometimes it's a load of stone, other times a lawn tractor  Towing happens at least once a week ranging from 3500-5000, but sometimes I do 7000 (vehicle or large tractor on a flatbed or a travel trailer) which means I'm borrowing dad's 3/4 ton truck every other week.

I really need an actual truck-van, not a minivan.  I would destroy that Sienna in a matter of months.  I appreciate the thought, but I think I would rather have a Tundra if I'm going the Toyota direction.  I also need a bit more ground clearance than a Sienna would offer.  I don't do any hardcore off-roading, but I am a member of three camps that have some challenges to get to.  I would hate to rip the oil pan off. :)

Since I have a compact truck, it stands to reason that I could do an AWD Astro, but three things prevent me from that.  They have an Astro-nomical tax on them much like Tacomas, most of them are pretty long in the tooth, and if I'm going to be giving up the vertical space of a truck bed, I really need the bigger box of a full size van.

I always preferred vans and have had a few, this is just the first time I've been in the budget range of the Savanna/Express AWD vans so that's where I'm leaning the hardest.

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
1/13/21 3:10 a.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

As you live in the snow belt, as long as that van is truly rust free, not just "PA rust free" I would think you would be well off to look into it more. You can handle the mechanical stuff, as long as he is not being a hustler, and just doesn't know. Wish I could check it out for ya, but I'm sure you'll find someone. Glad to hear its not all the way out yet, since it does suit your needs.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/13/21 8:20 a.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

I'd continue to run down the path of this red Carolina van.  It's just such a right combination of options. 

You say CEL on but seller can't speak to what the problem is.  Do you think the seller would be willing to spend the 10 minutes needed to take the van to autozone to get the code read for free?  

I'm not really sure if the van has diminished driveability?  Can he still conduct business in this van?  However, it looks like he wants (needs) to get out of that business too, or is he continuing the business in another vehicle?  

I think you are still in a good position with this seller to find a win-win.  He may be trying to hold firm but his ability to sell it to local shoppers will diminishes every month as it gets warmer and the need for AC work becomes more evident.  

 

Can you get and provide some more specific details of where the seller lives and where the van is located?  This info might help with getting a GRM'er to look at the van for you.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/13/21 8:39 a.m.

Thinking about "Silinoid".  I'd be willing to guess that is a word he thinks he remembers but that's not really the right word.  Since this is a 5.3L, from 2006, is this from the era of deactivated cylinders?  I'm not sure what that problem is but I've heard of it.  That might be the "silinoid" problem.  At 87k miles and 15 years old does that seem likely?  

Get the codes and get some more details of the cars drivability changes with this code on.  

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/13/21 9:03 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

I concur John, I think this van is Curtis' huckleberry. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/13/21 9:21 a.m.
John Welsh said:

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

You say CEL on but seller can't speak to what the problem is.  Do you think the seller would be willing to spend the 10 minutes needed to take the van to autozone to get the code read for free?  

I'm not really sure if the van has diminished driveability?  Can he still conduct business in this van?  However, it looks like he wants (needs) to get out of that business too, or is he continuing the business in another vehicle?  

I think you are still in a good position with this seller to find a win-win.  He may be trying to hold firm but his ability to sell it to local shoppers will diminishes every month as it gets warmer and the need for AC work becomes more evident.  

 

Can you get and provide some more specific details of where the seller lives and where the van is located?  This info might help with getting a GRM'er to look at the van for you.  

Secretariata (Steve) is about 90 miles away and we're talking about him going to look at it this weekend.

I think the Auto Zone code reading is how he determined the "silinoid" problem, but it seems like it was greek to him so he didn't retain the information in his brain.  Either he's bluffing me, or he really doesn't know.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/13/21 9:26 a.m.
John Welsh said:

Thinking about "Silinoid".  I'd be willing to guess that is a word he thinks he remembers but that's not really the right word.  Since this is a 5.3L, from 2006, is this from the era of deactivated cylinders?  I'm not sure what that problem is but I've heard of it.  That might be the "silinoid" problem.  At 87k miles and 15 years old does that seem likely?  

I tried digging into that deactivation thing.  It appears that the vans didn't get that active fuel system.  The 5.3L in the Silverado did, but I couldn't find it for vans.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/13/21 9:39 a.m.
John Welsh said:

I'm not really sure if the van has diminished driveability?  Can he still conduct business in this van?  However, it looks like he wants (needs) to get out of that business too, or is he continuing the business in another vehicle?  

His original ad (as you saw) looked like getting out of the business.  When he finally replied to me, the conversation went something like this:

him- I gotta take the ad down.  I think I'll sell the equipment and keep the van.  Were you looking to get into the business? (offering to sell me the equipment)
me- No, actually I was going to sell the equipment because I want the van
him- well, in case I sell it what's your offer for just the van
me- pending buddy inspection, if it is what you say, blah blah, I think I'd be good with $7k
him-  ok, before he comes you should know... CEL.... A/C
me- thanks for the honesty, let me reach out to buddy
him- can he come tomorrow?
me- probably weekend.

So he's motivated.  I'll reach out to him today and ask if he remembers the specific code(s).  I also forgot to ask for the VIN so I can do some sleuthing.  Then I'll see if I can arrange for Secretariata to meet up with him.  I did check out his FB profile.  He seems like a great young man.  I have faith he's not a total jackass.  He seems to care about people's emotional well-being IRL.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/13/21 9:55 a.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

Great!  

But, does the van drive?  Is it acting up like a bad trans?  Is it loosing power like a bad engine?  Overheat, etc?  

I'm willing to bet its an EGR code or an O2 code.  Sensor sounds like silinoid.  

 

At $7k, I would ask one question and that is "do you think the van is capable of a 7.5 hr drive?"  If the answer is yes, i'd be heading to get it.    This is based on the fact that it is a rare  awd van and then it is only 87k and then it is truly rust free (or southern all its life.)  For $7k, if there is a big problem you can still put $3k into the van and probably recoup your investment to a customer coming from more northern than your home. 

One of my favorite things about this van is it once had rear seats.  Even if the seller doesn't have the seats, JY seats can be added.  I never understood why the van makers don't put seat mounting capability into the cargo vans.  It seems to me that so many people need a work van that they can bring two crew or drop off kids to school before/after the job.  

My other favorite thing is it is not white and second to that it is not that damn Pewter/tan color that GM put on everything in the '00s.  His FB ad is generally crappy.  This is not helping his sale.  It starts with a bait/switch price and then focuses more on the sh!t in the van than on the van itself.  A picture of the interior seating area would be nice.  

 

iansane
iansane Reader
1/13/21 10:00 a.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

Well, I may have misinterpreted his solenoid thing.  He doesn't seem to be very auto-savvy.  He says there is a bad solenoid (or silinoid, as he puts it) but it's not in the transmission.  He said it is causing a CEL.  I can't think of any solenoids that would cause a CEL other than in the transmission.

Here's to hoping it's the classic GM EVAP purge solenoid. Simple.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/13/21 10:22 a.m.

He just got back to me.  He said he has an offer of $10.5k including the equipment and that guy is coming tomorrow.  If it falls though, yadda yadda.

He even offered to meet Steve at a mechanic and pay for an inspection.  Here's hoping.  I told him flat out... pending Steve's/mechanic's inspection, $10k with equipment, $7500 without equipment.  He seemed to like that.

He reassured me it is driving 100%.  He said he just took it to the beach this past weekend which was about 8 hours round trip.

New York Nick
New York Nick Reader
1/13/21 12:30 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

The add still shows the $10k price for the full deal but the title has it at $5k is that his new van only price?

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