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Old 01-21-2021, 07:32 AM   #1
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Default Chevy or Dodge on older Roadtrek?

Hi. First post here. A month ago our beloved Dodge 1997 Roadtrek Versatile 190 was totaled while on vacation. Hit from behind while making a left hand turn. No one was hurt, but they totaled the van and I am still arguing with the insurance company about the appraised valuation. That can be another thread.

I am looking at getting another Roadtrek Versatile 190 between the years of 1998 and 2004. During most of those years both the Dodge (until 2002) and Chevy vans were used. I'm trying to decide which would be the better van for me. Most things I have read about the Chevy vans compel me to say the Chevy vans overall are better than the Dodge, but I would like your thoughts.

What I don't like about the Chevy is the low clearance, and we tend to go on a lot of really rough roads. The other thing is I am familiar with the Dodge, know its weaknesses, and usually know how to fix it.

So, what do you think? Chevy or Dodge between the years of 1998 and 2004?
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Old 01-21-2021, 08:01 AM   #2
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If you don’t want to lift the Chevy then you have to go with the Dodge. Chevy ground clearance is minimal. Five inches before I did the lift which is not enough for off pavement.

On pavement hits caused me to repair things twice. Once a small piece of tread from an exploding truck tire took out the grey water plumbing.

Chevy has the better mechanical reputation but you are familiar with the Dodge.
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Old 01-21-2021, 08:26 AM   #3
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If you donít want to lift the Chevy then you have to go with the Dodge. Chevy ground clearance is minimal. Five inches before I did the lift which is not enough for off pavement.

On pavement hits caused me to repair things twice. Once a small piece of tread from an exploding truck tire took out the grey water plumbing.

Chevy has the better mechanical reputation but you are familiar with the Dodge.
How many inches was your lift, the cost, and did you do it yourself?
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Old 01-21-2021, 04:25 PM   #4
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How many inches was your lift, the cost, and did you do it yourself?
Several threads here on that. Air bags on the rear and springs on the front for 4 or so inches on the front that settled out to 3 1/2 or so inches. A suspension shop did the springs and I did the air bags for a cost of a bit less than $1k.

Along the way the ABS sensor of one of the front wheels failed requiring a trip to the Chevy dealer and a new front wheel hub. Front suspension ended up pretty harsh but I must have gotten used to it as it doesnít bother me anymore.

The front wheel bearings of the Chevrolet Express vans (2003) are sealed units, by the way. Some last forever, some donít.
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Old 01-21-2021, 04:32 PM   #5
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How many inches was your lift, the cost, and did you do it yourself?
2-inch lift on my 2006 210 . Springs front, airbags rear, Bilsteins all around. About $1200 for parts 9 years ago. I did it all, but if doing again I would pay to have the springs installed. You should upgrade the brakes as OEM are prone to the death wobble and they don't stop as well as quality aftermarket. You will probably need to change some front steering parts also: idler arm, pitman arm, tie rods and possibly ball joints. Sounds like a lot but makes for a nice and safe ride. 100,000 miles on mine after these mods and still solid. Be sure to lube front every oil change.
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Old 01-21-2021, 04:38 PM   #6
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The front wheel bearings of the Chevrolet Express vans (2003) are sealed units, by the way. Some last forever, some donít.
There is a way to lube the front sealed bearings on the 2003+ Chevy 's. I am overdue on mine as it is a bit of a hassle. Search the forum.

All this sounds like a lot of work on the Chevy's and I suppose it is. But one HUGE factor in their favor is GM still makes these vans. So parts will be available for a long time. That can be helpful if you breakdown on the road. Plenty of places can repair also if needed.
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:14 PM   #7
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For what it's worth, I think that the Dodge Roadtreks look better. Somehow the cap seems to me to fit better or more naturally on the Dodge.
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:22 PM   #8
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. Be sure to lube front every oil change.
Lube front steering components, not wheel bearings, every oil change. I would say every 30,000 miles or so on the wheel bearings but I am way overdue for doing mine.
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:47 PM   #9
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I did the research and found the Chevy had the better reviews. We have the 2004 RoadTrek 200 Popular. Very happy with it.
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Old 01-22-2021, 09:15 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone for the input. My top pick at the moment is to go with the Chevy and give it a lift.
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Old 01-28-2021, 05:21 PM   #11
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Default Early Chevy vs Dodge

The Chevy Roadtrek vans can be lifted both front and rear by installing spacers - 3" between rear leaf springs and axle, very inexpensive and can be done at home but also requires longer U bolts - front can be lifted about three inches by circular spacer under front coil springs - the front spacer is only about an inch thick but due to geometry of location it gives about 3" lift at front spindle or under side of front fender. I had a shop do the front spacer install and did rear axle myself. Google Chevy Express 3,500 front and rear suspension spacers or lift blocks. If U recall spacers totaled about $125, U bolts probably $50 and maybe two hours shop time for front spacer installation.
BJ 2004 and 2913 RT 190s
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Old 01-28-2021, 05:55 PM   #12
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I believe the Dodge has a shorter wheelbase which may make it more maneuverable and less risk for high centering on uneven road. I believe the Dodge also has a limited slip differential giving it great grip in dirt and snow. This may be an option on the Chevy. I have a 2003 Dodge Popular (last year of the Dodge chasis) that is still going strong but I change fluids religiously. Timbren rear bump stop suspension upgrade is cheap and really improves handling in my opinion. The Chevy is probably a better highway cruiser and the Dodge probably a bit better on dirt roads.
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Old 01-28-2021, 06:10 PM   #13
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I have a Roadtrek Ranger RT on a Chevy Express 2500 (2014). So far 65K mIles and no issues with the mechanics. My biggest issue is low clearance, so far after few times of scratching the bottom I am seriously looking at getting a lift for it (at least 2-3inches...!). I like the Ranger RT, although not as luxurious as the 190 Popular or Versatile, it is well made and so far quite reliable.
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Old 01-28-2021, 06:28 PM   #14
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Find a used Chevy Roadtrek with the Chevy's Quigley 4 x 4 conversion!
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Old 01-28-2021, 06:54 PM   #15
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I have a 1998 Roadtrek 190 Popular Dodge so have a biased opinion. Now has 115,000 miles and everything in good condition. I like the almost "Classic Lines" of the Dodge Roadtrek. Have replaced the transmission but no other mechanical problems.

Due to a snowstorm our electric has been off for several days. The 2,800 W Onan generator is sure coming in handy for the house fridge.
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteco View Post
2-inch lift on my 2006 210 . Springs front, airbags rear, Bilsteins all around. About $1200 for parts 9 years ago. I did it all, but if doing again I would pay to have the springs installed. You should upgrade the brakes as OEM are prone to the death wobble and they don't stop as well as quality aftermarket. You will probably need to change some front steering parts also: idler arm, pitman arm, tie rods and possibly ball joints. Sounds like a lot but makes for a nice and safe ride. 100,000 miles on mine after these mods and still solid. Be sure to lube front every oil change.
How many grease fittings on the Chevy chasis? I know the two in the front but is there one more? If so, where is it? Thank you
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:56 PM   #17
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How many grease fittings on the Chevy chasis? I know the two in the front but is there one more? If so, where is it? Thank you
\
11 on the steering parts, and maybe a couple more on the driveshaft if the u-joints have been replaced with greaseable ones.
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Thanks everyone for the input. My top pick at the moment is to go with the Chevy and give it a lift.

the PleasureWay and other models built on the Chev have better clearance than the Roadtrek ( no dropped floor)- I think I'm at 8.75" center of the 2006 PW Lexor TD


I bought this partly because I am familiar with GM's and have tools and manuals and experience


like I already know from my pick up that I need a 15mm socket and long screwdriver to change serpentine, I know where the connectors for the knock sensors are


moving to a new architecture has drawbacks- I'd be at a disadvantage if moving to a dodge or ford
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:29 PM   #19
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. . . I am still arguing with the insurance company about the appraised valuation. That can be another thread.
And perhaps it should be!! If you don't mind my asking, what does the insurance company think a totaled 20+ year old Roadtrek is worth? I know that my 1999 RT 170 would probably list for $20,000-$25,000 from private sellers but I expect that insurance companies would disagree with that valuation.
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:34 PM   #20
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And perhaps it should be!! If you don't mind my asking, what does the insurance company think a totaled 20+ year old Roadtrek is worth? I know that my 1999 RT 170 would probably list for $20,000-$25,000 from private sellers but I expect that insurance companies would disagree with that valuation.

When we got our 07 Roadtrek new, but at a big discount off of sticker, our insurance agent recommended getting the list price on the policy for evaluation of the vehicle. The sticker showed that price, and the sale price paperwork didn't matter, maybe because it was listed as new, so we did that. No extra cost, even, so all upside.
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