Please help/advise: new member - new van purchase


jojo99
06-20-2008, 08:30 PM
Can any of you tell me the real details on a 2000 dodge 3500 5.9L V8 15-pass van?
I have a line on one that has 46k miles (low) and can get it for $3100.

Owned by a church, local driving mainly. 46k miles. The rear vent/air has some blowing issues (works on and off - fan is on..but routing of air to upper back vents is hit or miss...need to fix that somehow). Carpet needs some major TLC (dirty), rear left tire has slow leak, but all in all it "seems" ok.

I'd also need to find an affordable/cheap tow hitch in case I need it.
Does the 2000 dodge 3500 automatically come with the added trans cooler?Where can i check that and make sure one is there on these?

Before I dive in and pay a mech to do a safety check and get it...i'd like to know what I'm getting myself into, what problems to expect, just how bad is the mpg (and is there anything that can be done to improve it)?

I like to do all my own tune-up work and oil changes, etc.
I'm used to my 1985 chevy s10 and 1987 dodge mini ram van v6 (pretty dang easy to get at parts to tune up).
What am I looking at with the 2000 dodge 3500 van as far as this? Do they make a good service manual? (i'd need one)

Are these good vans? Are the comparable big Chevy and ford vans? Are the chev and fords of similar size getting much better mpg? Do they compare to these 2000 dodge 3500 vans?

Why:
I am looking at a good van to get some musicians and gear around and out on tour (west coast to east coast and all over).
Now my gear is the old Hammond organ + a leslie 122 (organ weighs around 400lbs, leslie about 140lbs).
I'm looking at 15 pass vans to maybe stem any trailer pulling and hopefull at least a little better mpg (no OD when pulling trailers is what I've always heard).

the other option i was playing with was to get into a chevy astro 8-passenger van (rwd or awd) and hitch and pull a small trailer for the organ rig/other instruments when I need to hit the road. This way I could take out The astro has a 4.3 V6 vortec...not sure how that would play out over the long run.
Is this a smarter route given the awful gas prices we're faced with today?
Will the chevy astro hold up to trailer pulling for touring...or will I be faced with buying transmission after transmission?

How about the dodge transmission in the 2000 3500? How do those hold up and whats the BEST fluid and method to keep it running well?
I heard it has the infamous 46RE trans...and they've been apt to more failure/problems.

Sorry for all the questions - really need your help fast as this offer will be gone soon.
Thank you soooo much for any advice, info, tips to help guide me here (BIG dodge van?...or small astro passenger v6 and pull trailer when necessary?).

I do more local gigs, but it's time to get these guys out on the road.

Jo

jojo99
06-21-2008, 02:51 PM
Hello? Anybody?

bignoisey
06-24-2008, 07:42 PM
I don't have exactly what you are looking at but its a '99 Ram3500 van/RV conversion. It is quite a bit heavier than a passenger van (9,000 lb) and it gets only about 9-10 MPG at best. But it is a good tow vehicle. If you want to tow something a Dodge is a good choice. we have had only two real problems in 6 years of ownership. A sensor in the differential and currently the power steering is out. No transmission problems and we've towed a 10,000 lb cargo trailer on three long trips with it. It has stock cooling (just a small trans cooler) and has never overheated - not even close.
But if you can do with a minivan (Astro, or equivalent) and tow a trailer occasionally you might be better off on gas since its so expensive now. A full size van will probably get 10-11 mpg. A minivan will probably get 16-22 depending on age, type, etc. You can probably get the published mileage specs for any used auto off an internet site like Yahoo Autos or Kelly Blue Book. Do the math based on your planned use of the vehicle. Good luck.

bignoisey
06-24-2008, 08:27 PM
A better mileage web site: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

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