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Chevy Express Vans and carseats/kids


Cdfarabaugh

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We recently had a set of twins bringing us up to 5 kids all under the age of 4.  Everybody needs a carseat and will for quite awhile yet.  We outgrew our Dodge Durango which we are making work now, but there is absolutely zero room to take anything else.  Theres 3 oother options, Suburban, minivan, or passenger van.  Suburban is out due to price, minivans I dont think will offer much more room behind the seats, but the 12 passenger setups would allow us to pack more than enough stuff in back.  I've never put carseats in one and some people get wierd saying those Van's are unsafe.  Anyone with large families ho this route? 

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Can’t understand why they would be unsafe. Drive one for work daily, apart from handling very nicely and having adequate power it has been extremely reliable and gets 15 mpg loaded full of tools. 
it is not a passenger van, but the same platform. 

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12 minutes ago, vtfireman85 said:

Can’t understand why they would be unsafe. Drive one for work daily, apart from handling very nicely and having adequate power it has been extremely reliable and gets 15 mpg loaded full of tools. 
it is not a passenger van, but the same platform. 

Kinda why I want thisroute.  Heavy, solid platform with reliable powertrain.  I hate minivans from a mechanics perspective, plus they're utterly worthless down the road.  

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9 minutes ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

Kinda why I want thisroute.  Heavy, solid platform with reliable powertrain.  I hate minivans from a mechanics perspective, plus they're utterly worthless down the road.  

We had transmission issues with ours, mostly due to poor dealer repairs. 6L80 and a 6.0

 

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I used to have a customer that would bundle his kids into his Jeep because it ranked higher in crash testing than his Suburban.  The Jeep was a unibody and the Suburban had a full frame and twice the mass of the Jeep.

It turns out that the ratings that this gentleman was looking at were for the class of the vehicle.  In other words the Jeep was at the top of a class of much smaller vehicles whereas the Suburban was being rated against actual trucks.

His next vehicle to replace the Jeep was another Suburban.

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5 hours ago, vtfireman85 said:

Can’t understand why they would be unsafe. Drive one for work daily, apart from handling very nicely and having adequate power it has been extremely reliable and gets 15 mpg loaded full of tools. 
it is not a passenger van, but the same platform. 

X2

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At work we have a 19 Chevy express 15 passenger.  It’s considered a 3500 chassis.  Seems to work really well.  I would think for your amount of passengers the 12 would work.  The 12 is easier to find. We got it before Covid.  It had 19k miles and it was between 20-25k dollars.  Seemed like more bang for your buck than a minivan.  We used the dodge minivan for the same job before.  The minivans are light duty to say the least.

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We went to a Chevy 1/2 ton conversion van back in the early '90s so we could take trips without our three girls being able to touch each other.  I suggested a minivan, but as usual my blonde redhead was right - "if we can't afford gas for a full size we won't be able to afford it for a minivan either".

Now I work out of an '04 Chevy 2500 Express with a 6.0 and towing package.  I don't tow with it, but I can if I ever need to, and I've been told the towing tranny is pretty bulletproof, and it shifts really nice.  The 6.0 runs great, and I get 12 - 14 mpg around town with a full load of tools and lots of stops.

Like VT Fireman said it drives really nice - much better than the '84, '92, and '95 that I've had in the past.  GM really had their act together when they redesigned their full size vans in '96(?).  Checked hwy mpg once on a 40 mile trip and got about 16.5.  I'm gonna make a road trip in it this summer and expect to get 17 or a little better if I keep my foot out of it.  Not sure a lot of minivans would do a whole lot better.

Base on my experience with three kids, I'd say your main concern is to seat them all so no one can touch anyone else.

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45 minutes ago, Steve C. said:

Base on my experience with three kids, I'd say your main concern is to seat them all so no one can touch anyone else.

Aint that the truth..... haha

I really though about this and the only vehicle that wouldn't be completely outgrown after 10 or even less years would be the passenger van.  When kids start getting bigger a minivan will be cramped.  Dropping 35-40k on a van doesnt seem like a bad deal whenever it would be adequate to use for these kids into their teens.  

Just need one to look at and see how well carseats fit in. I dont think they have anchor or latch points so everything will be belted. They're not super plentiful by any means and forget about ordering one.  

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If you aren't hung up on brand new, you could look into a rental fleet van. That said i would want the bigger engine, I assume vans still get the 6.0? 

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I have found that you put a woman in a Suburban and soon you will not be able to get it away from her.

It is an acquired taste but all women love a Sub once they get used to them.

My wife will not give up hers!

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13 minutes ago, Diesel Doctor said:

I have found that you put a woman in a Suburban and soon you will not be able to get it away from her.

It is an acquired taste but all women love a Sub once they get used to them.

My wife will not give up hers!

If they can park it. My wife can't park anything that large worth a damn. 

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I watched a video on the big van vulnerabilities and it makes sense. The longer it is and weigh distribution are the key factors. Then bring the rear axle further front to shorten the turning radius. If too much weight in the back it's similar to a trailer loader too rear heavy and then it gets squirley if you wiggle the wheel ... That being said if driven respectably they are probably ok. 

We had the same problem 14 years ago next week when the third was born . S10 blazer was only a 2 car seat capable rear seats. Got a 95 burban and she complained about it for a few weeks. Then she wouldn't want anything else. Had two '99 burbans and now a 12 . All had 150+ when I got them 

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I'm going to look at this tomorrow out by Pittsburgh.  A bit strange it has such low miles, so want to make sure this wasnt sitting outside for 5 years rusting underneath.   If not, prob as close to new as I can get.  

To get a Suburban for 37k I'd be looking at something with 100k miles on it or more.  Insurance is much cheaper on this too. 

I'm also a bit at ease that theres not much crap in this van. As long as it has cruise and rear AC I'm happy.    

I got 15 years out of my pickup and still counting, so for the money im spending here that amount of use wont be a bad investment.  

 

1421962277_Screenshot_20220425-215721_SamsungInternet.thumb.jpg.855f01a797e708cc9abb25c260a241f2.jpg

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1 hour ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

I'm going to look at this tomorrow out by Pittsburgh.  A bit strange it has such low miles, so want to make sure this wasnt sitting outside for 5 years rusting underneath.   If not, prob as close to new as I can get.  

To get a Suburban for 37k I'd be looking at something with 100k miles on it or more.  Insurance is much cheaper on this too. 

I'm also a bit at ease that theres not much crap in this van. As long as it has cruise and rear AC I'm happy.    

I got 15 years out of my pickup and still counting, so for the money im spending here that amount of use wont be a bad investment.  

 

1421962277_Screenshot_20220425-215721_SamsungInternet.thumb.jpg.855f01a797e708cc9abb25c260a241f2.jpg

What engine does it have?  I love my 6.0.

I predict you'll be impressed with how it drives.

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The only concern I would have would be safety. I know nothing about them, but i would question if it has side curtain air bags and such. I personally look at handling and safety in the family vehicle before I look at price, within reason of course. If something happened to my wife or kids and I skimped on safety because it cost a little more, i wouldnt be able to live with myself.  Again I know nothing about those vans.

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13 minutes ago, JaredT said:

The only concern I would have would be safety. I know nothing about them, but i would question if it has side curtain air bags and such. I personally look at handling and safety in the family vehicle before I look at price, within reason of course. If something happened to my wife or kids and I skimped on safety because it cost a little more, i wouldnt be able to live with myself.  Again I know nothing about those vans.

It likely does not have side curtains etc, it is however a 7,000 lb 1 ton truck on a fully boxed frame. Sort of a trade off IMO, small cars with oodles of airbags are safe compared to other small cars without oodles of airbags. If you are looking at 2 small cars i see your point. Comparing a unibody minivan to a 1 ton passenger van is sort of an apples to oranges situation. 

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And the single most important safety feature is still the nut behind the wheel.

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4 hours ago, Steve C. said:

And the single most important safety feature is still the nut behind the wheel.

Isnt that the truth! 

I'm with @vtfireman85 that the best way to survive a crash sometimes is not having the smallest vehicle. Theres lots to crunch up on that van until it gets to the passengers.   A  barrel rollover would likely be the worst case scenario for that van, but those are terrible regardless.  This has stability control so that's an added plus. 

I'm currently filling out paperwork for it, I think it will fit well for us.  It's actually not much longer than our Durango, so one major fear of my wife demolishing it in a parking lot is alleviated. 

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If you can get 10 years out of a used vehicle in PA without parking it for the winter, more power to ya.

At 7 years old the box on my truck is rusted out around the wheel wells. I bought it new and ran it through the car wash every week religiously, sometimes 2-3 times a week. My previous truck a 2003 was 10 years old before the paint started to bubble around the wheel wells. The rockers were long gone but you couldn't see those.

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