Finally got a Van!

MormonWanders

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About a week ago I bought a 1985 Chevy G20 Tahoe on Craigslist for about 1600. It's got 113k on the odometer, but the engine and tranny only has 15k, not in the best condition otherwise, but I bought something that needs work so I can gain the mechanical experience. Things I need to fix are: rear breaks and rotors, front break adjusters/drums, the shocks are worn, and there is a howling noise coming from the rear differential when driving over 45mph. I rooted up the back seats and carpet and I'm about to put down laminate floors. The carpet had rust stains and the laminate seems a lot easier to keep clean down the road.

Thank you everyone for answering my questions on my previous post and I'd love to hear more from anyone who has experience with older G20s as well as general build/starting advice.

Pics of the Exterior:


The Interior without seats, and my creepy "I live in a van, cum over" face
 
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Kim Chee

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You may get 5 miles or 15,000 miles with that sound coming from the rear diff. I'd at least drain it and refill, looking for metal wires or chips in the drained fluid which will likely be present due to the sound she's making. Next, I'd locate a replacement so you can score one cheap from a cracked up low miler before the one you own gives out.

Nice project!
 

angerisagift

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You may get 5 miles or 15,000 miles with that sound coming from the rear diff. I'd at least drain it and refill, looking for metal wires or chips in the drained fluid which will likely be present due to the sound she's making. Next, I'd locate a replacement so you can score one cheap from a cracked up low miler before the one you own gives out.

Nice project!
exactly that howling noise is yr diff about to explode and sheeeeeeeeitt
 

MormonWanders

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You may get 5 miles or 15,000 miles with that sound coming from the rear diff. I'd at least drain it and refill, looking for metal wires or chips in the drained fluid which will likely be present due to the sound she's making. Next, I'd locate a replacement so you can score one cheap from a cracked up low miler before the one you own gives out.

Nice project!
Do you mean like a replacement vehicle? Is the rear differential issue that bad?
 
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Kim Chee

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Do you mean like a replacement vehicle? Is the rear differential issue that bad?
It means your rear diff will eventually fail. They are pretty heavy duty and can sometimes do that noise for quite awhile before dying. For such a large part, they aren't terribly expensive. They aren't one size fits all, but you should be able to get one at almost any good junkyard.
 
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Kim Chee

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btw: I know most people think that purchasing a used vehicle with a trailer hitch is good.

Towing is considered "severe duty" and to compensate, the manufacturer recommends increased service intervals and most people aren't even able or willing to keep up with regular service intervals.

For me, a trailer hitch is a good sign that your rig was used for heavy work (not some kind of a bonus $300 option you now don't have to purchase).

Don't let me discourage you though, rock what you got and take care of it so you can keep it away from expensive mechanics/repairs.
 
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MormonWanders

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Sweet van, is that a can of beer it came with?

If only!
btw: I know most people think that purchasing a used vehicle with a trailer hitch is good.

Towing is considered "severe duty" and to compensate, the manufacturer recommends increased service intervals and most people aren't even able or willing to keep up with regular service intervals.

For me, a trailer hitch is a good sign that your rig was used for heavy work (not some kind of a bonus $300 option you now don't have to purchase).

Don't let me discourage you though, rock what you got and take care of it so you can keep it away from expensive mechanics/repairs.

The previous owner told me the guy he bought it from upgraded the engine to a more powerful chevy 350 v8 engine and it was used to tow a boat around. Which would explain a lot of the issues I am having now. Thanks for the tip!
 

milkhauler

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If only!

The previous owner told me the guy he bought it from upgraded the engine to a more powerful chevy 350 v8 engine and it was used to tow a boat around. Which would explain a lot of the issues I am having now. Thanks for the tip!

Good ol Chevy

They are cheap, dependable, and parts are everywhere. You can even find used Chevy parts in China. Fix it up how you like, get a manual, some cheap tools, and have fun.
 

TMG51

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I had a Toyota 4runner whose rear diff rusted straight through and blew all its gear oil out on the interstate. It became a smoking hot screaming banshee before I realized while I was doing 80 MPH. Solution? I patched the pumpkin with epoxy, painted it rust brown to match, refilled gear oil and sold it to a dealer in New Jersey. I wouldn't do that to a private individual but if you can't screw a used car salesman in Jersey who can you screw. Anyway, the diff made that same foreboding noise over ~50MPH after I patched and refilled it. I would start looking for a rear end from a junkyard if you're invested in this van.
 

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