It's pretty much the same question for anyone buying any vehicle, unless you're
buying new. Even then, we tend to avoid cutting edge technology in favour of tried and
true, at least that's what I tried to do. We bought our 2002 190P in 2008. It had 58,000 kms on a
Chev 350 CID V8 engine with the 4 speed automatic/overdrive transmission. I figured an average of
10,000 kms per year was pretty decent, considering it had 2 previous owners. It was certified and
was owned by a couple who used it to get (they said) to their 5th wheel in Florida.
No history on the first owner, but was able to get in touch with the originating dealer, and it was
well maintained by the previous owners, according to them.
So, leap of faith, and another 60,000 kms, and I'm currently having problems with some of the optional
equipment (battery isolator and the generator), but knock on wood, no major problems with engine or
transmission/drivetrain. I did the brakes at around 112,000 kms on the advice of the Chev dealership
I frequent. I change the oil, and any other fluids as required, religiously.
I think the Chev V8 engines are all pretty reliable, if maintained, and in my case, the 350 CID (5.7L) V8 has
been a GM mainstay for 50 years or more.
I'd also trust the Chrysler 318 CID V8 as another mainstay, it's been around forever too, it seems.
g1g said if you can get maintenance records it helps. He's right.
When we looked and finally bought, we decided to trust the sellers, for the most part, as that's how we are.
I think your choices are probably a) trust the seller, b) take it to a trusted shop for a pre-purchase checkup,
c) look for a combo of low mileage, higher price, newer van, hopefully that won't start draining your bank
accounts for a while, OR high mileage, lower price, and older van, expect to spend some of the savings on
doing some fixing after you buy it. Ideally, all three would be best.
Just my 2 cents, for what it's worth ($0.02?)