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P3PPY Dork
5/20/21 8:01 p.m.

It's my absolute favorite time of the year: SHOPPING TIME!!! Haha I LOVE this stuff!

I have like three weeks here before a road trip where this will be required. I could fly and drive from Lansing but probably not more than 8 hours. 

Im looking for:

$10k is a pretty firm limit

Non-FCA(Chrysler, Dodge, VW Toureg)

No more than 135k miles (exceptions may occur)

2013 at the oldest. Our other van is 2008 and I'm not spending $10k to only get four years newer. 

If full-size then not 15 pass, since it's SWMBO's DD. Meanwhile I'd trade the Z4 for a shuttle bus and DD *that*!

If full size Express there's some leeway on the year but must be an LS >2003, per Curtis. 
I don't hate conversion vans but threads on here have me scared of them.

Sadly a few quick searches ruled out a Jeep Unlimited (they're ugly anyway) but is it remotely possible to DD 2 car seats and a booster with a 2 door??

That's it.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/20/21 8:12 p.m.

Do you consider the Ford Flex a viable option, size consideration? 

I don't have one specifically to offer but just wondering if it's wagon style/size would work for you. 

Same questions on Chevy Traverse twins? 

P3PPY Dork
5/21/21 7:06 a.m.

Yeah, good idea, my wife's first thought was one of those like her friend has. I talked to the friend's husband and he tells me storage isn't sufficient in those kinds. Floorboard is up high. 

Going to look at a transplanted NC 2012 Quest SL (breaking my first rule there) with 92k on it for $10. No data from ConsumerReports, but we did just come from the model of van they 3x in a single car guide issue recommended we NOT buy, so ain't skeered. 

szeis4cookie (Forum Supporter)
szeis4cookie (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/21/21 7:18 a.m.

Didn't realize you had this thread going too - in your other one, I posted a link to an 05 Savana conversion van asking right at the top of your price range. Richmond, VA is a direct flight from Detroit.

914Driver MegaDork
5/21/21 7:22 a.m.

I know people that are quire happy with Chevy Astros, but they went away on 2005.  =~ (   

I run with a guy with a Ford E-150, V-6 which hauls multiple tool chests, tires and a trailer at hiway speed with no issues.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/21/21 9:30 a.m.

In reply to P3PPY :

Two major concerns with the 2012 Nissan Quest. 

#1 CVT Trans.  Nissan doesn't have a good history with CVT.  Sure, just about everything they have offered in the past 10 year is CVT (so they sell many) but problems seem many too.  

#2 The Quest is the shortest of the big minivans.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/21/21 9:38 a.m.

Older Chevy Express than you wanted but '00 w/50k miles asking $6.5k.  Its got a wheel chair lift you'd remove and then you'd might have to source seats from a JY, but...  

Located in the swanky Island in the Detroit River (connected by a bridge.)  Sure, low miles does not always mean low rust.  Should be easy to crawl underneath.  

Not sure if the blue van has the rear seats any longer.  Car-part.com shows me that this JY in Saginaw has these seats.  No price given but ill bet less than $100 per row.  

Take a power washer to the seats and I'll bet the come out pretty good..


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/21/21 10:25 a.m.


Honda in Ann Arbor will sell quickly

All the money for an Astro van that seems very nice, but not cheap.  

P3PPY Dork
5/21/21 6:51 p.m.
John Welsh said:

In reply to P3PPY :

Two major concerns with the 2012 Nissan Quest. 

#1 CVT Trans.  Nissan doesn't have a good history with CVT.  Sure, just about everything they have offered in the past 10 year is CVT (so they sell many) but problems seem many too.  

#2 The Quest is the shortest of the big minivans.  

Good points! Canceled the appt. I *was* of the opinion that coming from an FCA nothing could scare me, but 2 mins on Google verifies that trans issue. See THATS why I post on here!

P3PPY Dork
5/21/21 7:18 p.m.

2014 Sienna $11k

Top choice so far. Age or miles have been knocking the rest off the list. Sadly it's a MI car, so I'm going to hate life in a couple years if we get it. Doubt it will last the weekend, Mon is soonest I can get there. What's everyone's guess about why so cheap? What skeleton am I going to discover or later wish I had discovered??


dunno if the 50/50 reviews are common for a car place or what. Clearly a lot of dissatisfied ppl here. Am considering passing on it. 

P3PPY Dork
5/21/21 8:09 p.m.

E350 wheelchair lift van $10k,111k miles

May be a hard sell to my wife due to the size but it's checking all the boxes for me. Curious about the 35 weeks for sale. I expect I may never hear back from ol boy 

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/21 10:27 p.m.

I have mixed feelings on used Sedonas. I bought a very cheap one from a very not-reputable dealer. The transmission needed fixing, then ultimately died and needed replacing. It had some other issues that stem back to abuse and neglect that were easy and cheap to fix. Other than that, the motor was reliable, it had tons of space and features for the price and rode well.  I see a lot of them with over 200,000 miles not the clock, so maybe my experience was unique and if you buy one with a good service record it would be a good option.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
5/22/21 7:40 a.m.
No Time
No Time SuperDork
5/22/21 8:05 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) :

We just traded in our 2010 Sedona. No real issues for most of the 140kmiles we had it. The issues were:

- power sliding door motors: door latch motors wear out but can be replaced in an hour for about $15 each. 
- evap canister: replaced due to crack causing a leak $400 to have dealer diagnose and repair

- trans cooler lines: rusted out and were dripping fluid. Replaced in the driveway. I forget the cost, but it wasn't high enough to cause me to remember it. 
- exhaust pipe on cat rusted through  and y pipe flex joint braided reinforcement rusted away. That was a $700 repair in the driveway (new car and y pipe)

- Intake tube developed a split causing a CEL under acceleration. Easy fix, but about $120 from dealer for new tube with all the plastic resonators included. 

- Axles: replaced the right front wheel bearing and axle. The whee bearing was bad and the axle boot was torn. 

The final straw was using oil. I checked it a few month ago and Toped it off because it was down a quart. Checked the week before the trade in and it just at the bottom of the stick and took over 2 quarts to top off.  Still ran great and didn't smoke, but had used 2 quarts in about 2 months of use around town and no visible leaks. 

I needed to get an oil filter for it so my wife went with me and looked around at what the dealer had. We ended up with a Sportage nightfall edition for 19% under MSRP with trade (before adding tax, title, and registration), so we decided to upgrade. I was going to see about offering it on GRM, but didn't feel comfortable doing that because of the oil use. 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
5/22/21 8:13 a.m.

Astro that doesn't fit many of your criteria, but looks inordinately clean for Michigan.....Marketplace - 97 Astro Van awesome | Facebook

No photo description available.

P3PPY Dork
5/23/21 10:11 a.m.

So fullsize vans are official off the table, according to Mrs. P3PPY. 

Is anyone in the Covington, KY area who could look at this one? It's at a Lexus deal so I ASSUME it's going to be in fine shape and could fly n drive sight unseen, but Lansing keeps surprising me so I'm getting jaded. Also, it's been there 9 weeks  

2014 Sienna

Steve_Jones HalfDork
5/23/21 10:40 a.m.

In reply to P3PPY :

Go to the dealers website, they have the carfax. Being at a Lexus dealer means nothing as they got it from auction. It's bounced through a few dealers for some reason. 

P3PPY Dork
5/23/21 11:19 a.m.

In reply to Steve_Jones :

Thanks. I hadn't gotten that far yet, that sounds super fishy

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/23/21 12:02 p.m.

In reply to P3PPY :

I pulled up off the dealer's website the carfax for this Sienna.  It spent all it's life in Connecticut and some Mass.  It got a lot of dealer service in it's life (which seems good) but then it also took a side impact hit at 25k miles.  Looks like one Columbus, Oh dealership bought it at auction but it did not sell for them so they took it to auction and this current dealer bought it there.  None of that is really bad, but...  

You will be driving south to buy a car that came from just as far north as you are currently.  Just be aware of that!

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/23/21 12:21 p.m.

So, above we have a 2014 Sienna w/136k asking $11k


I know you have said no Mopars...but, that is what I bought a year ago doing the same shopping.  

I remember that this guy in Livonoia, MI always has more that one Mopar van listed.  They are all rebuilds.  He seems upfront about the nature of the rebuild in his listing.  

2018 Dodge w/ 50k asking $12.6k  Yesterday he also had a 2016 Chrysler w/50-ish for $11.7k

It now seems that this blue Chrysler is sold.  Too bad, it looked nice.  

He currently also has this Ford Flex.  Mostly though, I see he has Mopar vans.


I recommend that you reach out to him.  I have a feeling he is a body shop.  He probably buys these and does the work.  I bought a Prius off a body shop in Cleveland that specialized in rebuilding Camry and Prius.  I got pictures of what the car looked like from the accident and he was clear about what had been replaced.  See if this guy can give you similar.  Also asking him what more he has in the pipeline.  

What's better?  A 2018 Mopar w/ 50k that has been in an accident for $12k or a 2014 Sienna w/ 136k that has been in an accident?  

I believe that people get rid of used cars for a reason.  Like the Kia listed above, the GRM'er ran from an oil issue.  For the rebuilds, the issue they were running from was just the accident.  However, the car itself at the time of the accident was still very likely a good car.  With the accident damage fixed, that leaves you still with a good car.  

When the Kia above was sold, the oil issue was not fixed.  That oil issue became the issue of the new owner.  


A couple of other caveats if buying a rebuilt car:

  • make sure your lender will lend on a rebuilt car.  PenFed will
  • make sure that your insurance company will insure a rebuilt car
John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/23/21 7:26 p.m.

Here's the FB page of the Livonia guy where you can see his past inventory which is mostly Mopar vans

P3PPY Dork
5/23/21 7:26 p.m.

Thanks for the tip on that guy. I snatched his contact info and I'll see what's coming up.

Today I asked my wife about the FCA thing and it sounds like she might be willing to consider one if it had better seats, but only in desperation would I personally do that to myself again.

Current thought is Frankfort KY Sienna 2013 with 148k for $11

Carfax shows first 90 were as a fleet vehicle. Anecdotal, but my parents have had good luck with former rental cars - and I guess John too, so I'm ok with that. 

With my criteria being somewhat a unicorn given our finances, I've also been thinking about how the lowest cost solution to where we have a working vehicle again is just to fix this one, which may cost up to $2k. It really chaps me to think that way, but we got a few other hits this week. New refrigerator, shower leaking water thru the floor, discovering a 150' trail of carpenter ants from our woods to the house -- carrying eggs, too. Meanwhile, it seems like if we spend any less than the full $12k we are no better off that we currently are- either the van is just as old or has tons of miles. I'm open to suggestion about this, too. 

P3PPY Dork
5/24/21 9:22 p.m.

Well, as much as I hate the thought, here we go down the FCA road :/

The math just doesn't add up to spend so much more on fewer of the earlier years of a vehicle's life. I'm considering this thing from 2017 for $10 with 138k miles on it from Canada. There goes my hope for a rust-free life. Also, why has it been there for ten weeks at that price? 

Ticking time bomb?

Im realizing that I LOVE car shopping for a fun car. I do not enjoy this. I'm a bomb technician just trying to not have this thing blow up in my face. 

Also, I found this poor, worn out looking Z4 that I stopped and looked at the other day. The seats look nice but the rest of it looks as well-loved as mine. If his sells for anything near what he's asking I should reconsider keeping mine! Poor thing has the hated SMG, too. 

2004 Z4



John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/25/21 7:09 a.m.

California van now living just 2 hours away from you in Fort Wayne, IN.  The ad has an element of "I know what I have" but I have to agree, what he has is good.  

The ad does say, or best offer, so that denotes price flexibility. 



John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/25/21 8:12 a.m.

The Canadian Van you listed above...

The Dodge's came in 3 trims

  • R/T, later renamed GT is the loaded model
  • SXT (also SE) is the mid model
  • American Value Package (AVP) is the low spec model.

All trims got the same drivetrain but here is how they stripped the AVP.

#1: No rear hvac.  The only air comes out of the dashboard.  This means you might have cold/hot 3rd row passengers for a long time or at least until the air gets back there.  You'll be running the HVAC at max for a long time and the front people will be too cold/too hot so the 3rd row people can just barely get some comfort.  Pic from the ad, the black row under the HVAC control is where the rear controls would reside:

#2: Stationary sliding door glass.  Unlike the upper models, the AVP second row windows do not open.  Maybe not the worst thing but when combined with no rear AC, the only air you can add to the back is from the front windows. From the ad, the driver's door only has switches to open the front windows. 

#3: No tinted glass.  Also, not the worst thing on it's own but... Non-tinted glass means the sunlight will heat up the interior much more significantly.  You will welcome that additional heat in the winter but hate that additional heat in the summer.  Combine this with the other two issues and what you have is the max-hot interior with the least ways to get rid of that heat.  Can't roll down the rear-side windows and can't crank up the rear AC.   

It just amazed me that the AVP gave such disregard to interior comfort.  Because of this, I recommend the AVP to be the van to buy if you're just hauling cargo but not an awesome choice if you regularly intend to have 3rd row passengers.  

Further more...black paint to assure the max hot interior!!!

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