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Old 11-25-2012, 07:35 PM   #41 (permalink)
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I was helping a guy parked in front of my house deal with his blown coolant hose on a 1997ish Caravan not so long ago. All I can say is, that engine bay is freakin' tight! I wouldn't ever want to work on that van, the Windstar has tons of room compared to that thing. I would have a Chrysler van over the older GM offerings though, GM should have been charged with crimes against humanity for releasing that Venture POS.
We get lots of Caravans in the shop, and it seems like no matter how much people beat on them, they last. I've seen them come in with 500,000 miles, still running strong. It's not like it's some fluke, we see very high-mileage Caravans in all the time. They may not be the greatest design (especially when they started sticking the spare tire under the center of the vans, don't get me started on that), but they go and go. I don't think I've seen a Windstar or Venture/Montana come in without, at the very least, the check engine light lit.

The Caravans are fairly easy oil changes.

Had a Venture in the shop yesterday. It was leaking gasoline all over the floor. Also not a rare occurrence.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:40 PM   #42 (permalink)
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To be fair, the interiors of newer Fords are very similar as well. As are Chryslers, Hyundais, etc...

I couldn't help but laugh a little at the strong opinions posted by Taurus drivers on this forum. I like my Taurus just fine, but the styling (inside and out) can best be described as "blah".
Yes, compared to offerings in this day and age, but back in the day they were styled very nicely. Plus, gotta make the most of what you have! We take pride in what we drive.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:53 PM   #43 (permalink)
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We get lots of Caravans in the shop, and it seems like no matter how much people beat on them, they last. I've seen them come in with 500,000 miles, still running strong. It's not like it's some fluke, we see very high-mileage Caravans in all the time. They may not be the greatest design (especially when they started sticking the spare tire under the center of the vans, don't get me started on that), but they go and go. I don't think I've seen a Windstar or Venture/Montana come in without, at the very least, the check engine light lit.

The Caravans are fairly easy oil changes.

Had a Venture in the shop yesterday. It was leaking gasoline all over the floor. Also not a rare occurrence.
The highest mileage Venture I've come across was around 200,000 miles. If a Caravan made it 500,000 miles, I bet it needed more than 1 transmission! I'm seeing less and less Caravans from that generation, not from mechanical issues, but rot instead. They had bad rust issues. Also, a Venture without rotted rockers is nonexistent where I live. I haven't seen a Windstar with more than 250,000 miles, some around 200,000 but not that many at all. I really don't know why someone would want to drive 500,000 miles in one of these vans, the gas costs would suck compared to a small commuter car.

The SES on a Windstar is pretty much normal. They have so many vacuum leaks.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:31 PM   #44 (permalink)
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. They may not be the greatest design (especially when they started sticking the spare tire under the center of the vans, don't get me started on that),
Dont get me started either, 4 guys to put the spare tire back
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:48 PM   #45 (permalink)
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^^^
Spark


Sonic


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I think all those interiors are hideous, with the Malibu just bordering on being tolerable. Beyond the garish video game-like design, blue is a color that should never be used for instrumentation of any kind. It's the hardest color for your eye to focus on. Of course, GM is by no means the only automaker using blue for everything.

On the other hand, I really like the interior in my wife's 2006 Pontiac Montana SV6. It's got a very clean dash and instrument layout, with proper red (and a little white) backlighting, nice controls, nice materials. All in all, it's a really nice vehicle. It handles well, and not just 'for a minivan', has enough power, rides nicely, holds gobs of stuff, is comfortable, and has been reliable for us. It doesn't quite reach it's highway fuel economy rating though - typically comes up 2-3 MPG short of the 25 MPG it's rated at in pure highway driving. You can reach 25 MPG if your speed limit is under 60 MPH and you have perfect weather and traffic, sometimes. On the downside though, the seat fabric looks nice, but stains easily and frequently when it gets water on it, and cannot be cleaned. Yes, I said water. Plus, the middle seat recline levers are incredibly flimsy and break with only occasional use - leaving your seat stuck at whatever spot it was when it broke. Still trying to find replacement seats or time to attempt a repair. Despite all the good qualities of the car, the seat issues really tick me off. Honestly, if a company cannot make a frickin' seat lever that doesn't break after minimal use, and cannot use seat fabric that handles water on it without staining, why should we continue to purchase their products?

I like the styling of many new cars, including the Chevrolets originally pictured. But, we'll never buy a new car because it just doesn't make financial sense for us - even though we could probably afford it. So we're buying 4-8 year old vehicles, typically. I personally can't stand most new car interiors, so that suits me just fine.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:00 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Yeah I got to experience one of those today, well... a Freestar actually. Filter in the same place though. Yuck.

I'll never understand how Ford and GM failed so badly at minivans. DODGE, of all companies, was the only American one to make a decent minivan (I'm excluding the Aerostar and Astro here). Nevermind the oil filter locations, the Freestars and Windstars don't seem to hold up well at all. The less said about the GM vans, the better.
Other than the couple (admittedly really boneheaded) issues I mentioned, we really like our 2006 Montana SV6. But granted, it does only have about 60k miles. Maybe it'll fall apart at 100k?

We drove a similar year Dodge Caravan before buying the SV6, and were just not impressed in any way.

Different strokes I guess.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:12 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 15951 View Post
To be fair, the interiors of newer Fords are very similar as well. As are Chryslers, Hyundais, etc...

I couldn't help but laugh a little at the strong opinions posted by Taurus drivers on this forum. I like my Taurus just fine, but the styling (inside and out) can best be described as "blah".
While I've never been a fan of 'blah', I will take it any day over going too far the opposite way, as it seems about 90% of automakers do these days. It's like they're all trying to out glamorize each other, especially on the interiors.

Functional, clean, understated, and legible are my preferences for car interiors (certain parts of the exterior, too). An interior should never be designed as eye candy or jewelry. Get everything silver out of my line of sight, please.

I for one love the interior and exterior styling of my 2004 Taurus. But some people may think I have odd taste, for having loved the styling of my Saab 9000 and Suzuki Aerio SX.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:59 PM   #48 (permalink)
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I tell you what....I drove a new Sonic as a rental for a week, only had 4k on the odometer, what a piece. Sorry, they may look cool and have a lot of options, I'll give you that. I am 6' 220 lbs. I actually had ,well, o.k. room, but when I gave it the gas....it didn't even ask what...it was still asleep...I'd rather have a base Fiesta.Just my .02.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:40 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Dschinghis Kahn View Post
We get lots of Caravans in the shop, and it seems like no matter how much people beat on them, they last. I've seen them come in with 500,000 miles, still running strong. It's not like it's some fluke, we see very high-mileage Caravans in all the time. They may not be the greatest design (especially when they started sticking the spare tire under the center of the vans, don't get me started on that), but they go and go. I don't think I've seen a Windstar or Venture/Montana come in without, at the very least, the check engine light lit.

The Caravans are fairly easy oil changes.

Had a Venture in the shop yesterday. It was leaking gasoline all over the floor. Also not a rare occurrence.
My 98 Windstar doesn't have the CEL on and it just turned 160K

I've had caravans in the past as well, and with the proper maintenance they can go LONG distances. The 3.3/3.8 is a workhorse! While I like the body of the Montana/Venture/Silhouette, their 3400 motors are junk(leaky LIMG, rod knock, piston slap) and the transes are just about as good as their motors.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:52 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Just pointing out my experiences with the vans.

I will say that, while still junk, the Uplander/SV6/Terraza are significantly better than the vans they replaced. They also aren't complete deathtraps



Bear in mind that I've owned a GMC Safari and a Chevy Astro, and would gladly own more. Those designs had all sorts of problems, but I understand being able to overlook flaws.
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