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Suggestions about an Express 2500

Old January 6th, 2019, 11:26 AM
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Default Suggestions about an Express 2500

I am a motorcycle racer and looking for a new vehicle to get to and from and track. I am interested in hearing some recommendations about what I am thinking about regarding an Express and have some questions about this platform.

My requirements are a vehicle that:
  • Will be able to tow a trailer
  • Will have room for at least 4 people (see below on my ideas about an extra row of seats)
  • Will have room for all of my gear; folding canopy, folding table, tool boxes, a couple of storage boxes of chemicals, spares and other gear)
  • I can (optionally) put the bike in it if itís just me going to the track
  • I can sleep in at the track
  • I can bolt-in additional rows of seats for passengers so that I can carry more than 5 adults in from time-to-time
I'm thinking that a used Express 2500 LWB cargo van with 75k - 100k miles on it is the way to go. I was thinking about the RWD 6.0 liter V8.

A couple of questions:
  • How easy would it be to get a couple of rows of seats complete with seat belts from the passenger version of this vehicle to install and then remove as needed? Are those parts interchangeable between the models?
  • Does the cargo van come with a tow package from the factory that includes transmission cooler and electrics or is all of the towing gear aftermarket?
  • If it doesnít come with a transmission cooler is one required and is there a decent aftermarket kit?
  • What are the sorts of things to look for with a vehicle with that many miles on it? Anything in particular to inspect prior to purchasing it?
I am a fairly competent mechanic and welder so plan on doing most or all of the maintenance on the vehicle myself.

Any thoughts on this approach and advice about these vehicles is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
-- Ryan
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Old January 6th, 2019, 12:53 PM
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Seats are quick release with pins. You cannot put seats and seatbelts into a cargo van (no mounting points). I have seen seat track spacing changes from year to year. Seatbelt buckles also change.
There is a factory tow package.
Certain vans have paint peeling problems. Around 2005 I think ... not 100% sure.
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Old January 6th, 2019, 8:56 PM
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mountainmanjoe thanks for the input.

So, do you think that I should get a LWB passenger van and then remove most of the seats?
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Old January 6th, 2019, 9:30 PM
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Road race, or off road? I ask because tie down in a passenger van could be tricky.. Trickier for a road bike.

So, a 15 pass van typically has the rear most seat (4th row) as two seats, like an old split bench seat. They use slightly differently spaced rails to mount. But a member here found that the rails run forward to the point that if you had more of the split seats, you could cut the carpet and install the plastic bezels in and do a custom "seat" plan. You could use the one ot the split seats in the 2nd and 3rd rows, drivers side, leaving plenty of room for a bike on the passenger side. This member bought the seats from me, but there may be others who don't want those rear seats.

The other issue may be sleeping. Unless you can sleep on a long bench seat, the floor will be way lumpy, because of the aforementioned rails. I haven't tried it, but it may be too lumpy for an air mattress.
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Old January 6th, 2019, 9:39 PM
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I found the thread he did on moving the seats.

https://chevroletforum.com/forum/exp...ssenger-83721/
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Old January 6th, 2019, 11:04 PM
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StanVan, roadracing; so street bikes and not dirt bikes (at least for the time being .

Thanks for the info on the passenger vans.

The plan is to be able to maximize the use cases for this vehicle; be able to take 10+ people on long trips, go to the lumber yard and haul 4' x 8' sheets of plywood and drywall, and make trips to the track for the really fun stuff.

It sounds like the passenger van, with 3 rows of seats, covers being able to transport lots of people, as is. The idea would be that going to the track, I'd be able to take out two rows of seats and then be able to either tow a trailer and/or throw a bike in the back.

Given the differences in configuration between the cargo and passenger van it sounds like I would need to make some sort of removable floor for when I would be going to the track; which isn't a problem as I could fabricate it out of a combination of wood and/or metal. I wonder if I would be able to use the existing mounting points for the seats to "bolt-on" said removable floor?

I think at this point I need to actually put my hands on one and look at it to get an idea of what my options will be and what I will have to fabricate to meet my needs. It looks like a number of Chevrolet dealers in my area have these in stock.
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Old January 6th, 2019, 11:49 PM
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I think you can opt for the vinyl floor in the passenger van. You don't have to have carpet. Unless vinyl is only in the base model....
The 2500 and 3500 come with a tranny cooler if you get the tow package.
The g80 locking diff is a must.
A passenger van with 3 rows of seats is a 1 ton, so I am not sure if its not just worth getting a 15 passenger.
The diesel is a good albeit expensive option as well.
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Old January 6th, 2019, 11:55 PM
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You might see if you can get your hands on the upfitter manual for the Chevy van to see how the manufacturer approves seat mounting points in a Chevy cargo van.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 11:56 AM
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Does the G van give you enough height for your bikes? Maybe a commercial chassis?
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Old January 7th, 2019, 4:46 PM
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Easily. No mirrors.
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