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Username Post: 92 G20 Conversion Van Questions        (Topic#119067)
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3298

Loc: Clintonville, Wisconsin
Reg: 12-23-02
12-13-05 09:49 AM - Post#833680    

This is my first post in the forum. So here goes....

I bought a 92 G20 conversion van yesterday. The prior owner hadn't run it in two years and it is receiving some mechanical overhaul now. The interior is in really good condition. The carpet is a faded on the drivers side.

It has only 123,000 miles with only a few hints of rust forming on the body.

It has the extended roof with the ladder up the back. Inside it has two captains chairs in the front. Two in the middle and the third seat folds into a bed. It has a TV, VCR and rear Stereo with tape system. Curtain on the windows are great and the windows are fine.

I am in the process of restoring my 68 Impala SS and need a vehicle I can put a hitch for a trailer when I do parts pick ups. I have three little dogs that travel with me so the need for a van instead of a pickup.

My questions are:

1. What is the reliability of the full-size Chevy vans?

2. What are common problems?

3. Since they are framed are they good for towing? This may someday be pulling a trailer with the 68 on it to shows.

4. Where do you find interior parts like new carpet for a conversion van? This van is missing one small light in the back.

Last thing, I paid $2000.00 for it and even with the expense of freshing up its mechanicals I think it was still a good price. Yes or no?


Jim Becker

With helper Trudy - rest in peace Tommy and Naomi

Needs to Get Out More Member
Posts: 12906

Loc: Texas Panhandle
Reg: 12-31-01
Re: 92 G20 Conversion Van Questions
12-13-05 10:48 AM - Post#833681    
    In response to Jim_Becker68


This is my first post in the forum. So here goes....

Did ya think we would bite?

Not particularly a conversion van, but alot of work vans have been good tow rigs for years. Either the things (conversions) weigh a heck of alot, or they carry some cushy spring setups on the rear, you may have to add a leaf or might be cheaper to find a spring set off of a work van to pull the car, also, an anti sway bar helps alot.

And, those things come with P-series tires (again for ride) which are not suited for towing, really not suited for the van itself as far as I am concerned.

There isn't much difference in the vans and pickups---reliability wise, if they have been maintained they are tough as nails---if may have some work to do.

First thing comes to mind is, the pancake compressor isn't known for longevity, but, I had a 92 and put 179K on it with nothing/zero/nada/zilch done to it mechanically, and it did farm duty every day......but was maintained to the nth degree.

I think, if the conversion company is still in business that would be the first place to ask about interiors, if not just go to an auto upholstery shop. Or check other conversion companies----that stuff was hand cut/fit/and made from bulk stuff on site at those companies.

The dogs are going to love it

Super Senior Member
Posts: 5010

Loc: corner of Walk & Dontwalk...
Reg: 07-28-00
Re: 92 G20 Conversion Van Questions
12-13-05 11:34 AM - Post#833682    
    In response to Jim_Becker68

""""""need a vehicle I can put a hitch for a trailer """""

use a good class III or IV hitch such as the DrawTite #41121 which is a bolt on deal and good and strong. Use the 18338 D.T. plug in wiring harness for your van.

Pulling a 3800# car and a 1700# tandem open trailer will max out the system but is doable and climbing elevations might be iffy. Hopefully you have a 350 c.i. rather than the 305 c.i. motor , which will be better for towing. 400 pounds tounge weight is doable...more will require Firestone ride -rite air bags. The G30 has more rear spring but the G20 is ok. If the trailer pushes the van then go to a LT tire rather than the lighter ply/duty tires that came on the vans as was posted above.

Since they are framed are they good for towing?

Well not a frame as such but a unibody.... but they do make towing ok with the advantage of more usable room and can be locked up with nothing in the bed to show.

"""""""What is the reliability of the full-size Chevy vans? """"""

Same drivetrain as the trucks with similar chassis components to a c20 truck.

"""""""What are common problems?""""""

IF you have the 700R4 overdrive auto trans they need a trans cooler and dont tow in overdrive under 10 inches of vacuum as the trans life will be shortened no heavy loads in o.d. 92 was the last year for the TH400 trans (3 speed) and that is fairly bulletproof but you will be 4 mpg down without the o.d. The 400 is a lot better for towing tho. Dont worry bout it tho as you wont be towing much? or long distances over hills?

Fluids change...and synthetic in the trans would be nice. Tune m up, new cap rotor and O2 sensor and spark plugs. You might be preemptive and change the in tank fuel pump and for sure the external fuel filter back by the tank.

""""""""Where do you find interior parts like new carpet for a conversion van? This van is missing one small light in the back."""""""

As the carpet has faded over time you might not get a good match for patching. Try an upholstery supply store in your area where the upholsterers hang out. Replacing the whole area and using metal trim strips might be the easiest deal.

Camper supply stores carry lights and interior pieces BUT they are pricey. Do a search on the web for such things and also look in your auto parts store in the Peterson Mfg line for lights. ask to see a catalog.

"""""""Last thing, I paid $2000.00 for it and even with the expense of freshing up its mechanicals I think it was still a good price. Yes or no?"""""""

Decent vans, at least out here on the left coast are hard to come by and Chevs command the high price. Most of the work vans have been beat to death and the conversion vans are really ratty and show no care. I think form ur descriptin you did fine....have doggies will!!

Posts: 20
Loc: Dallas, TX
Reg: 09-27-04
Re: 92 G20 Conversion Van Questions
12-13-05 12:58 PM - Post#833683    
    In response to Jim_Becker68

I think you did good on the price. I paid $2650 for mine last year and it had 139000 miles at the time. Mine was one owner and the body and interior is very nice shape. My dalmations love it too!

My van has been reliable but I had to fix some problems that the previous owner left me. Replaced the usual fluids, belts, hoses, etc. I had a problem with U-joints and rust in the gas tank. I changed the fuel pump while I was in there. You might have rust in the tank too if it sat a long time with an empty tank. Looks like my radiator will be replaced next along with the water pump. This is not my daily driver. I drove it about 5000 miles in the past year.

Mine came with a small hitch on it but I don't tow anything. The transmission is my biggest concern with this many miles so I added a cooler.

JC Whitney carries interior parts, also and I'm sure there are tons more places if you do a google. Good luck!

1990 G-20 Van 5.7 liter 700R4 147k mi.

Posts: 34

Loc: Pittsburgh,PA,USA
Reg: 11-13-02
Re: 92 G20 Conversion Van Questions
12-22-05 06:13 PM - Post#833684    
    In response to Jim_Becker68

I too have the 92 G20 van, bought w/43k miles, now w/140k miles, conversion w/o the hightop. Tows ok. Never in OD, unless going downhill and I want to speed up, and I watch the tranny gauge. Thing weighs 6400lbs alone on the truck scale.

Tranny rebuilt at 97k for a shuddering torque converter, $1600 w/synthetic oil. No other major problems, standard stuff like the alternator, radiator slightly clogged, ujoints just replaced, cooling hoses, etc.

Added a 2nd tranny cooler after the rebuild, now I have 2 stacked plate units in series-what a difference, I also have the tranny temp gauge. Make sure you get the stacked plate cooler, mine are Haydens, 11"x11"x3/4" approx, should fit no problem behind your grill. If you rebuld the tranny put Mobil One synthetic in it.

Use regular oil, no synthetics, I use 10-40 all year and change it at 4000 miles. This is your preference.

As for ride, mine rides bad, very heavy. I have tried shocks, air ride and different tires. What I found is, I buy Uniroyal tires, usually in the $50each range and the ride is great. Something about these cheap Uniroyals softens the ride, and the wear is no different than the $120 tires.

JCWhitney carries alot of interior and exterior stuff, can't quote on the quality, but their are numerous places online that sell lights, shades, carpet, ladders and roof racks, etc.

Have fun.

1992 Chevy G20 van 1992 Chevy/Geo Storm 1989 Chevy Beretta

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