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Author Topic: Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari  (Read 1932 times)

attkrlufy

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« on: January 14, 2012, 09:40:45 AM »

Hey guys.  Long time, no see.   I'd like to draw upon your wisdom for a little help in
picking up a work van.  I'm starting a housing-rehab business in
center-city Philadelphia - so parking space is at a premium.  Since I
don't have a garage, I'm going to have to store all my equipment in my
truck, which I'll park in the city and drive to the rehab sites.



I can't afford a new van, so I'm looking at the used market.  When
looking at work-vans that fit the bill, I can't decide if I want a third
 gen shorti Ram ('94-'03) or a second gen GMC Safari/Astro van
('95-'05).  They're both within about 1 1/2" of each other in terms of
length (~190"), width (~79"), and wheelbase (~110"), and both had long
production runs so parts should be cheap and plentiful for each.



The Ram feels significantly bigger on the inside - it's about 5" higher, 2" wider, and has a slightly longer cargo bay (~4").  I don't know how useful that's really
going to be to me, day-in-day-out.  4'x8' sheets of ply will fit in both
 -  so do I really need the extra height, or will it and the 2" of extra
 width keep me from banging into everything and going crazy?  Because I
feel like the Safari will be a bit easier to drive in center city than
the Ram and will get better mileage.  But I feel like the Ram is a more
proven design.  I trust the durability of the Mopar 3.9L V6 / 5.2L V8
and 3-speed more than the GMC 4.3 V6 and 4spd.  Plus, I feel like the
structure and suspension of the Ram is more "durable" than the GMC and
will handle abuse better.



Anyone have any experience with the two?  Any red flags with either of them for this sort of work?



Thanks.



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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2012, 03:08:40 PM »

Mine is with the Ram, the V6 is very durable. I am not a fan of the Safari, I just haven't seen them run as long, thus durability is the issue I have with them. Those couple inches do make a differnece when you are both working and storing things in them.
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Steve

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2012, 07:08:45 PM »



The Ram
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attkrlufy

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2012, 07:28:22 PM »


Quote from: POLARACO

This is a no brainer, and i think you already agree
Yeah.....I just wanted to see if somebody would say something like, "I've run those GMC vans forwards and backwards through the very gates of Mordor and they're just as durable as a Dodge Ram."  But I guess not.

I do think the GMC's will be easier to maneuver in center city Philly than the Rams...but I think the shorti Rams are small enough to work, too.

I've just seen SO MANY beat up Rams these past few weeks....it's been hard to find one under $4K that hasn't had the carp kicked out of it.

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Steve

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2012, 08:05:42 PM »



If you want, I can call my dealer here and see what he has. . . .  He gives me some really sharp prices
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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2012, 08:37:51 PM »

A Dakota with a camper shell can be a real good vehicle like Steve said. I sold my 88 to a friend with 158K on it, bought my 95 with 148K, and used a 95 with 225K on it for the body to replace my wrecked 95. I have one upper ball joint that needs replacing in the near future but it hasn't damaged the tire or steering so it isn't that bad at 225K. The 3.9 and 5spd is very durable, you can get the first generation square front end V6 in the less than $3K for a nice one and even extended cab for some inside storage if you want, canopies are in the $300-400used range, so you could get in under the $4000 pricetag without difficulty.
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Leaburn Patey

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2012, 11:32:17 PM »

From an automotive repair shop point of view.
Buy the Ram.
As much as we love seeing Astro's and Safari's come to our shop on the hook,I certianly would not want to own one.
As a work van you will be replacing ball joints,idler arms (yes two of them) brake ads,rotors,rear calipers (2003 &newer) at a regular basis.
Rear disc brake equipped vans do have problems with the backing plates rotting   and the parking brake shoes delaminate and the park brake mechanism tends to seize.
Rear diff covers always rot out on these vans.Axle seals are common to leak on them.
Plus the 4.3 Vortec burns up coils,plug wires,and known to flood in cold weather,so plugs get swapped from that epsiode.
Plus the cat convertors are known to plug up causing the van to be useless to drive.Part of the front pipee assembly they are NOT cheap. 
TBI 4.3's tend to have EGR valve issues caused by carbon build up in the intake and EGR port..
Alternators,batteries,blower motor resistors,andd the oh so expensive fuel pump/sending unit module are known to have meltdowns or just plain quit..
Plastic vacuum lines always break for the HVAC controls.
Ditto the cheapo outside door handles
You will know when that happens when you the air is stuck blowing in the defrost mode.
Plus GM had  a bad run on the instument clusters  in the early 2000's where guages would go nuts or not work at all.Odometer goes blank and cannot read it. 
Door hinges wear out .
That's fine but they are WELDED onto the body..Friggin pain to swap out,we send them off to a bodyshop for that.
Block heaters,oil cooler lines,tranny lines all leak
Up to 2002 all  the vans ran 2157515 tires which are thinning out.
2003 znd up carried an oddball 2157016 size and have limited choices off brand and tread styles.
Oh..I have not even started on the tranny and ABS issues we have seen.
Buy the Ram
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firedome

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2012, 04:36:52 AM »

I'll add another one to the mix: look at a Ford Aerostar. My brother
runs a cabinet business and bought a used one 10 yrs ago, still has it,
passed it down to his 20 yr old son, still going strong with only tires
and exhaust type repairs at 240k miles.  My son's best friend's
dad had one that he totally neglected, didn't even change the oil after
it hit 250k and it still went 320k miles and was running well when
traded in on a F-150. From what I've seen they are one tough mid-sized
rwd van, and cheap to buy. I like Rams too but don't let
Mopar-blindness turn you off to other good vehicles. 

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attkrlufy

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 12:14:08 PM »

That's a good point Roger, but the thing is, I can't remember the last time I saw an Aerostar work van.  I'd consider it if I could find one - but I'm not going on a wild goose-chase when there are tons of shorti Rams available.

I DID find a guy in Bingo (Vestal, actually) named Bob Abell who's selling a '96 2500 shorti.  The link is here:  http://binghamton.craigslist.org/ctd/2762881121.html

I'm going to be in that neck of the woods this weekend - I'm hoping he's around and the van is still available.  I'd really like to take a look at it.  If it still is for sale, maybe you and I could grab a bit to eat, too.  ;)


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firedome

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 04:27:38 PM »

Oh bummer. I'm going to Jersey in the Am to see my sister, back
Sunday... let me know if you can still come another time!  love to
see you!

R



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Arlen Vander Hoff

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2012, 09:24:36 AM »



Mopar or No Car,nuff said.
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firedome

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Work truck debate: Shorti Ram vs. Astro/Safari
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2012, 09:22:39 AM »

Did you get one Dom? If not come up to Bingo and buy the white one... looks good!

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