Hate to say it, but it's the God's Honest Truth, you can't go wrong with a
well maintained Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna where money is no object for
routine maintenance and repairs. They are safe and reliable, but cost more
to repair when they do break, and cost more up front.
For less $$, look for a 3.0 Windstar or later model 3.8 Windstars or V-6
Caravans/Voyagers/Town & Countrys... these are bigger, but the
Quest/Villager is a nice, smaller, but sporty van that is often overlooked.
The rear wheel drive & AWD Aerostars are almost begging to go to the shop
all the time. The Astro/Safari is a much bigger vehicle, but probably
offers the best 4WD system... not very good on gas either.
There are a lot of choices in vans! My pick would be a Taurus wagon though,
which we had before, and will replace, our Aerostar. Lots of room, seating
for six to eight, great on gas, reliable & inexpensive.
Astros and Safaris have more power than anything else in the class.
They have everything else beat if you ever pull a small trailer or
If you don't put a lot of miles on it the difference in mleage isn't
They look to me to be safer in case of an accident. You sit much
higher in them.
Asking others in a NG is an effort in futility. Generally those
in a NG will suggest the brand that they bought as the best. The
used one you buy on that recommendation may very well be a dog
based on how well it was serviced, or not serviced, used, or
abused... In the real world suggesting to someone that they
should, or should not, buy a particular vehicle based on the
particular one they own is a bit ingenuous. Making a judgment in
a NG of any of the used vehicle that are available in you local
market, good or bad, is impossible in any event. From what I
see of the thousands of vehicles we service every year in our
fleet service business, all manufactures are building good
vehicles today. The only real difference is style and price.
Since you are buying used, not new, I would suggest you drive and
price all of those that you believe best suits you needs and
budget, then buy the one among them in the best condition at the
best total drive home price.
There has been lots of negative press about he Chrysler transitions and of
the three people I now who bought Caravans, all three have had transition
trouble. IMHO, I'd steer clear of Chrysler. I had two Aerostar vans, both
acted up around 90,000 miles. With one it was the injectors and the clutch,
with the other it was the power steering pump and the air conditioning. I
would recommend you steer clear of these as well.
That post proves my point. Chrysler has sold more minivans,
since the created the niche, than any other manufacture. Even
with all of the numerous competators on the market today they are
still the number one seller. Surly buyers would not continue to
buy them for more than twenty years if they were the bad vehicles
this poster would have you believe. As to the recommendation on
the Aerostar, that vehicle has not been sold since 1989. Just
the fact that there are still any available used to be had would
prove there viability.
Reece Talley wrote:
I don't know what year Ford ended the production of the Aerostar.I can tell
you for certain that I owned a 1993.I also owned a 1988.They were both good
dependable vehicles that were properly maintained.The person to whom I sold
the 88 told me last summer he had 234,000 miles on it.Sure,there are some of
the constant use parts of a vehicle that wear out,like
tires,battery,starter,alternator,brakes,belts,and hoses.(including heater
As a general practice,lubrication and monitoring fluid levels will give you
good service out of almost any vehicle.In our family of
11(yes,eleven)drivers,we have owned 10 vans. 2 Chevys,3 Fords,2 Dodges,2
Toyotas and 1 Honda.I could not pick any one over the others because I
cannot support any reason with facts or information.
Now that all my 9 children are gone,I see that they choose to drive SUV's.
I tend to agree with those that recommend Chrysler,the statistics prove
that.They are also cost less to insure.I try my best to be fair.
This post is yet another example of why one can not make a
judgment based on what is posted in NG. Very few will come
into a NG to post about their good vehicles, while many will post
of their problems. The same can be said for magazines
like CR in that respect. The only way to make a reasonable
decision on which to buy, of those that are available in ones
marketing area, is to drive evaluate and price those vehicles
at hand to do so. The experience of others, good or bad, is of
no consequence to those from which one can choose
Ynocencio Zamora wrote:
That's going to surprise a lot of Aerostar buyers who bought these vans new
at dealers up into 1998. The last model year was 1997... at Ford you had
your choice of minivans (Windstar v Aerostar) for 3 model years.
I currently have an Aerostar with just shy of 170,000 miles. I don't
recommend buying one unless it's in perfect condition, very low miles, and
VERY cheap. Fortunately(except to current owners), they're all pretty cheap
Funny, my Aerostar is about 170k miles right now and has never had a
serious problem. It's still running on the original engine and
transmission and everything works perfectly except for a bad fan
switch that I need to change out. I know a lot of people with similar
Guess the Aerostar isn't bad after all.
The most "serious" problem was a transmission replacement at about 115K,
with a used recycler unit. It was still working, but there was a terrible
noise in 1st and a LOT of metal in the ATF after a very mild rocking on
sheer ice at about 15 below... busted planetary or something of that nature,
still shifted fine. Had to drive it 300 miles to the shop, it made it... in
OD most of the way.
-The 3.0 is unbeatable for reliability.
-The roofline is the same height as a C/K 1500 Suburban, but the floor is
MUCH lower, there is lots of hauling room especially with the seats out.
More comfortable seating / leg positioning than the Suburban too, except
there is no fore/aft adjustment to the passenger side front chair. 5
seating configurations not counting the fold-fully-flat center and rear
benches (camper benches only)
-It has a nice fuel/trip computer.
-tows rather nicely in (D) (not OD) Drive, with a frame hitch - good
tracking, low end torque, and ride attitude, with a 5000 lb. rated capacity.
-OK fuel economy, but WAY below my 3.0 Taurus
-The van is useless in snow without actual snow tires.
-All the interior trim (Eddie Bauer Model) is loose, bowed, or warped in
-four winters in upstate/northern NY have killed a body that was Indiana
rust-free in the fall of 1999.
Usual wear items done:
-just replaced starter at 165K (starter motor was OK, bendix gear would not
-outer tie rod ends
-just put tires #11 & #12 on... not too bad for this size vehicle
-regular rear brake adjustments (makes a big difference!)
-just put third set of front brake pads on at 165K. Still original rotors
MANY little things break down at the most inconvenient times - unrelated to
-front heater core
-rear heater core
-front heater blower
-steering rack pinion seal(s) failed, was cheaper ($98.00) to replace the
whole thing w/lifetime warranty unit
-fuel pressure regulator
-fuel level sending unit
-trip computer bulbs
-oil pressure switch is on its own - will come on whenever
-Hatch latch needs regular disassembly to lubricate or it wont close (solved
finally with Mobil 1 oil)
-center and rear seats are extremely heavy to move & reconfigure
-hard to keep speed in top gear (OD) on highway especially over 65 with
headwinds, worse with hills
-irregular water leak somewhere near rear fixed glass windows
So... it keeps me busy it seems with something every week or two, but it is
running too well to retire as yet. I'm just glad I don't have to wander
into a shop or dealer to keep it going. Gotta love the $18.00 per axle
brake jobs at home!
The Aerostar was indeed a good van, that last ones were sold in
'97. I consult to a fleet service company, that I once owned,
that operates in six eastern states. The vast majority of
corporate fleets that we service generally only keep their
vehicles in service for 5 years or 300K WOF. I'm curios as to
why your fleet is still running '97s. Is it because they are
Thomas Moats wrote:
Our light vehicles are turned at about 7 years. It also depends on the type of
duty the vehicle is in. Then sometimes if a high enough supervisor can pull the
correct strings, it will stay longer. In this case the few that are still
around, and I do mean few, are there to appease a near retiring "worker".
Some do, some do not. I'm not sure of the average mileage per year on like units
as that they are all in very different areas of the state. The light vehicles in
my area see between 200k to 300k by the end of the cycle. There are some areas
that see less than 50 miles a year. It all depends on the area and duty of the
vehicle. So it's an impossible question to answer with a true accurate answer.
Even out medium and heavy trucks do not average out.
On Mon, 05 Jan 2004 10:06:07 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
Uh, 1997 was the last model year for the Aerostar. The thing only came on the
market in 1986.
1995 was the first year for the Windstar, now 2003 is the last year for those,
they've been replaced by the Freestar.
The fact that Chrysler sells a lot of mini vans is not a real indication of
how good they are, but rather an indication of how effective their marketing
is. The Chrysler vans look fantastic and they ride very well. My sister had
one, my co-worker had two, two of my buddies in my rocketry club have each
had one and all had transmission trouble that caused them to go through two
or more rebuilds and/or replacements long before 80,000 miles. This just
can't be a coincidence. In my sister's case, she had the top of the line
Plymouth model and between the radiator failing twice, and the tranny going
out twice, the van just killed her financially. She replaced it with a Honda
a year ago and so far, has had no problems at all. Even the service
department is better. So I don't know what to tell you really except beware.
The Aerostar is defunct, that is reason enough to stay away. Buy a Chrysler
at your own risk.
BTW, I really do know how to spell transmission...really! Geez, late nights
and early mornings take their toll on my brain.
Here, here! Friend at work also had substantial and
repetitive trans. problems on his late-model Caravan
I had an '86 lancer that was a nightmare (rollback
car). I'll not take one in for free - my garage space
is precious to me.
I know the Villager and Quest have had great reviews*
in the past as a smart choice on a used mini. Check
those out before you decide.
*Consumer Reports Magazine.net> wrote in message
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