Advice on buying a Chevy Express

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KuxW04
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
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Advice on buying a Chevy Express

Post by KuxW04 »

Hello everybody, new to the community.

I am a few years away from retirement and looking to buy a Chevy Express (or GMC Sanana) cargo van and make it into a camper / travel van.

I am looking at a 2500 6.6L with a 6 speed HD transmission, will not consider the V6.

OPTION 1 - BUY NEW: Since I have a few more years of working I could finance and buy new.
My concerns are engine and transmission reliability on the new vans – will do basic maintenance myself.

What is your advice.

OPTION 2 – BUY USED: Another option is to buy used, I understand the previous engines / transmissions have beed reliable (6.0L gasoline), but I am concerned about oil consumption, transmission etc., since I will not know how the car was maintained.

Any info greatly appreciated. I am mostly concerned about the reliabilty of these vans.
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MountainManJoe
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Re: Advice on buying a Chevy Express

Post by MountainManJoe »

Welcome to the forum.

Treat yourself to a high top Sprinter

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KuxW04
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Re: Advice on buying a Chevy Express

Post by KuxW04 »

I understand Sprinters have lots of problems ....
Diesels are expensive to maintain.
And the Sprinter is arounf $70.-k compared to Chevy at around $40k.-
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MountainManJoe
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Re: Advice on buying a Chevy Express

Post by MountainManJoe »

Mercedes Sprinters are reliable.
Unfortunately, GM's fit & finish has gone down the crapper, and the electronics are failure prone.
The fuel to run 6.6L engine is going to be expensive.
If I were retired, I wouldn't want to be hunched over in a cargo van.
Yes the Sprinter costs more, but it has a good chance of lasting the rest of your life.
For your $70k you get a 4WD dual-range drivetrain, and high clearance on a HD chassis. You can't say the same for the Express.
Several factory options are available to make suitable as a getaway vehicle. (Aux power system, diesel heater, etc.)
I'm looking at both of these vans parked in the driveway right now, by the way.

toastybock
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Re: Advice on buying a Chevy Express

Post by toastybock »

I actually joined this forum also to learn as much as I can about vans as I'm diving into the world of converting one into a "camper". I write software and work full time remote so it gives me the freedom to travel as much as I want and I love to explore.

Currently, I'm grappling with the cost and the extent of customization for the vehicle. I've been extensively researching the custom build aspect, but there's still much to learn. The primary concern, as pointed out by @MountainManJoe, is the height of the Express vs getting a hightop Sprinter. I've explored affordable options to extend the height, such as tufport tops, so this isn't a major issue. I also plan on remodeling a lot of the interior in the cargo and passenger space to make them more livable and with good planning and negotiating, you can save a lot. All in all, the conversion looks like it's going to cost between $10-$25k depending on a host of factors I'm still working out, BUT, you need to consider this as well.

In terms of reliability, historically speaking you will only know a vehicles reliability after a few years, so checking consumer reports on model years 2020 for the Sprinter and Express, the Express edges out the Sprinter on reliability. Though this might not be the case with new models.

In terms of fuel efficiency, engine size does play a factor, but the larger issue is managing the weight of the vehicle. This can all change depending on how you customize the van, but a base model Express is lighter than the hightop Sprinter even with the added weight of the van top extender.

Another significant consideration is the vehicle cost. The Sprinter is pricier by around $30k compared to the Express and dealers don't often offer discounts on the Sprinter, there's even a chance of paying above MSRP to get one. The Express, on the other hand, is not only more affordable but also has a healthier supply of them, with dealers open to discounts.

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I'm still in the planning stages, but I'm inching closer to living the life I dreamed of while making sure I don't break the bank for what comes next (I don't plan on living in a van forever =P~)!
roaming the US - Van Life
looking for the best deals on Chevy Express or GMC Savana
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MountainManJoe
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Re: Advice on buying a Chevy Express

Post by MountainManJoe »

I don't trust CR. The stuff they publish is ridiculous sometimes.
The Sprinter is more reliable and has a good reputation worldwide.
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